"Dragon Defender: Dragon Defense League Book 1" by J. A. Blackburn

BOOK BLAST and GIVEAWAY
Dragon Defender:
Dragon Defense League Book 1
by J. A. Blackburn
Dragon Defender by J. A. Blackburn is a middle grade fantasy suitable for children ages 9-12. This book was a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2013 Literary Contest. You can enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or $50 PayPal cash. This book blast is brought to you by Mother Daughter Book Promotion Services. The book will be on tour 6-26 January, and the author will stop by for an interview on 13 January.
Description
For over a thousand years dragons have existed in secret …
Peter Clark can build a robot from scratch and pick a lock in two minutes or less. But he can’t figure out why his mother left or why his grandma refuses to talk about her. When Uncle Dominick shows up on Peter’s twelfth birthday with a letter that hints at answers and an incredible story about dragons, Peter follows him, determined to find out the truth about his mother’s disappearance.
What he finds is a reality far different from what he ever could have imagined – where dragons live in hiding, hunted by poachers for their magical parts, and a small group of men and women work tirelessly to protect them. These are the Dragon Defenders. Peter’s uncle is one. So was his mother. Now it’s Peter’s turn.
The Buzz
“We read an advance copy of this book on kindle earlier this year and our 5th grade son read it twice and is anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. Great adventure, really kept our interest reading it together at night. This was one of the kids books I most enjoyed reading myself as well. The characters and the plot are well developed, and appealing to a wide range of kids (both genders). The writing is sophisticated but easy to understand, not ‘dumbed down’ like many kids books. The subject of dragons was so well crafted that it’s easy believe that dragons just might exist, after all.” ~ 5 Star Review, Leigh A., Amazon
“Reminiscent of the Fablehaven series (with just the right touch of Harry P.) this middle grade book is both an adventure and a pleasure…Fast-paced and full of wonder, this book takes middle grade readers on a vivid journey from the southwestern U.S. to Mexico; where jungles, ancient ruins and local folklore add to the enchantment that Peter finds when he discovers that dragons are in fact, real. As a former elementary school teacher, my strong feeling is that kids will eat this book whole, and then turn to searching for dragon eggs in their own backyards!” ~ 5 Star Review, Grace W., Amazon
“Dragon Defender was an absorbing action packed read! The author pulls you in from the first page and I’m not sorry to say I read it all in the first day. I’m 33 but still! This is a fun book for a chapter a night with your 5 year old (my son is loving it so far) or for yourself. The characters are well developed so you feel like you’re really there, and the dragon is so believable. I’d venture so far as to say I had to remind myself that dragons don’t really exist … or do they?” ~ 5 Star Review, MGC, Amazon
About the Author
J. A. Blackburn lives in Seattle, Washington in a small white house overlooking the sea with her husband, Jason, her son, Camden, and their dog, Bella. Dragon Defender is her first novel.




Giveaway
Enter the giveaway for your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or $50 PayPal cash.
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"Lethal Journey" by Kim Cresswell

ON SALE for $0.98
Lethal Journey
by Kim Cresswell
Kim Cresswell’s latest novel, Lethal Journey, is ON SALE for only $0.98 (save $3.00). You can also read my blog post about Kim’s first novel, Reflection, whose sequel will also be released later this year.
Description
A killer lurks in the shadows of Hyde Park, New York … waiting.
Manhattan District Attorney, Lauren Taylor, is about to take on the most important case of her career, prosecuting Gino Valdina, acting mob boss of New York’s most influential crime syndicate.
For three decades, Gino Valdina has led New York’s Valdina crime family. Since his recent indictment for murder, the leadership of the family is in turmoil, appalled by the death of one of their own, Gino’s wife, Madelina. Without the support of the family behind him, Valdina will do anything to save himself.
But Lauren soon discovers, things aren’t always as they seem when she’s tossed into a mystery, a deadly conspiracy that reaches far beyond the criminal underworld and a journey into the past makes her a target … and anyone she’s ever loved.
Excerpt
September 1997
Rain pounded down.
Lauren Taylor squinted through the windshield, a backwash of water battered the glass. She flicked the wipers on high and tightened her hands around the steering wheel. With a quick glance in the rear-view mirror she noticed headlights behind her. The vehicle appeared to speed up, fall back, and then speed up again.
Her muscles tensed. “That driver behind us seems to be in a big hurry.”
Her father leaned forward in the seat and peered into the side mirror. “He’s all over the road. Might be drunk or something.”
“He’s crazy driving like that in this weather. I’m letting him go by.” She downshifted the Jaguar and steered onto the side of the road and rolled to a stop.
As the van raced by. A giant wave of water pelted the side of the car.
Her father watched out the window. “Christ, he’s flying”
Taillights flickered and quickly faded ahead into the blackened night.
With a quick glimpse in the mirror, Lauren steered the car back onto the road, her grip relaxed around the wheel. “That’s better.”
Her father repositioned himself in the leather seat and stretched his legs. “The Law Society’s dinner is next week. You going?”
God, the dinner. She’d bought an expensive navy and white designer dress for the occasion and even toyed with the idea of having her hair cut into something more sophisticated and polished for a New York district attorney.
“I’ll have to check my schedule.”
“Not good enough. I want you there, Lauren. My chance to show you off. Do some bragging, big time.”
She couldn’t help but smile. “Okay, Dad. Okay.”
“And don’t forget to bring a date for protection. Don’t want a bunch of drunken seedy lawyers groping you on the dance floor. And by the way, I heard Eric was back in town.”
Her smile faded as she remembered the annual dinner years before. She’d never forgotten a single detail of that night—how Eric held her in his arms and how his mouth devoured her willing lips then pulled away and left her mouth burning for more…
“What else did you hear about him?” she blurted out.
“Not much. Can’t even remember where I heard the news. Thought you didn’t want to talk about Brennan?”
“I don’t. I just wondered when he got back.”
Her father’s jaw tightened. “Don’t know.” His voice turned hard. “Just heard he’s back.”
At one point in their relationship, Eric begged her to come with him and start a new life in Florida. She didn’t have the courage to leave her father and walk away from her job. Four years later, she was taking on the most important case of her career—prosecuting Gino Valdina, head of New York’s crime family, just like her father had done a decade before. But this time would be different. Gino Valdina wasn’t going to get away with murder.
The sky split and lightning lit the wet road. Lauren eyed the exit sign to Hyde Park.
The whining squeal of an engine roared from behind.
Lauren glanced over her shoulder. “God, that van is back.” She clicked on the turning signal and steered onto the off-ramp. Her eyes darted back to the side mirror.
Headlights swerved from side to side.
A shiver drove up her spine. She clutched the steering wheel.
“I’m calling the police.” Her father grabbed his cell phone out of the glove box and turned it on. “Damn it. I can’t get a signal.”
“Keep trying.”
The van’s driver gunned the engine.
The grill came into view, massive and powerful.
Close. Too close.
Metal connected and scraped against the bumper.
The van shoved the Jaguar ahead on the road.
High-beams from the other lane blinded her.
Lauren blinked and turned her head.
The van rammed the back of the car. Metal popped as the back window disintegrated into the back seat.
The seat belt snapped across her shoulder. Her head slammed back on the head rest then forward. “Oh my God!”
The cell phone flew from her father’s hand. “What the—”
“Dad!”
Like a slingshot the Jaguar shot down the slick road.
Lauren slammed on the brakes.
The car slid a half circle and spun out of control. A massive tidal wave of water washed over the roof.
Her father clutched the dashboard with both hands. “The tree!”
She yanked the steering wheel hard to the left.
Wood splintered. Metal buckled, squealed and cracked. The air bag struck her body like a fist, and smacked her head against the side window. She pushed at it, viciously. With every move, fiery pain shot through her face and down her neck. The sickening sweet stench of gasoline and smoke filled her nostrils. Her head clouded.
Lauren heard her own voice, pinched and muffled, cry out. “Dad!” until her words drifted into silence.
Review
High tension, high intrigue, and an angry mob boss put young District Attorney Lauren Taylor on the defensive as she prepares for the biggest courtroom case of her life. All she has to do is stay alive long enough to put the head of one of New York’s biggest crime families behind bars, and the jury is out on whether she can pull that off. Her greatest ally is a man she knew and loved long ago, who shredded her heart as his own demons of guilt tried to drown him in an alcohol induced haze. Lethal Journey by Kim Cresswell hits the ground running and does not stop! Are people as they seem or is there more to them? As the attempts on her life escalate and people close to her go missing, Lauren doesn’t have many options on who to trust. Enter the one man who broke her heart, Eric, a homicide detective who has also felt the burn of getting too close to the mob. Can Lauren trust him? Does she have a choice? It would be so much easier if her heart would stay out of it, wouldn’t it?
Kim Cresswell’s talent shines through again! With a talent for setting the stage, bringing in the characters and cuing the action, she held me from page one. She is not afraid to write a tale that is real, where the good guys do not go unscathed and they are not perfect. There is grit in her style, and when she says you are in a warehouse with a stench, you smell it. The romantic tension runs high, and using character flashbacks to the past not only builds on the development of each character as a flesh and blood entity, but serve to eventually bring everything full circle with an ending that you will NOT see coming!
About the Author
Kim Cresswell resides in Ontario, Canada. Trained as a legal assistant, Kim has been a story-teller all her life but took many detours including working for a private investigator, running a graphic design business, and teaching computer classes at a local business school. After becoming disabled with Fibromyalgia and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, Kim returned to her first love, writing. For her, writing suspense fiction is an incredible adventure and she’s surprised where the journey takes her. She’s also an avid reader who enjoys playing computer games, ghost hunting and loves anything paranormal.
Her debut romantic suspense, Reflection, has won numerous awards including; UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha!” Romantic Suspense Winner! (2004) and an Honourable Mention in CARWA’s The Writer’s Voice Contest (2006).
Kim has a few new books in the works including the sequel to Reflection which will be released in late 2013.
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"Heart of the Raven (Amaranthine, Book 5)" by Joleene Naylor

Heart of the Raven
(Amaranthine, Book 5)
by Joleene Naylor
Heart of the Raven is Book 5 in the Amaranthine series. Make sure you also check out the other books in the series: 

Also by this author:


Description

A myth with the power to destroy the world…
Katelina has barely recovered from the chaos of Malick’s revolt, yet she and Jorick must go to Munich to testify before the True Council. All hopes of a vacation are dashed when they’re assigned an entourage that includes Verchiel, a vampire Katelina never wants to see again.
Her hatred is forgotten when Malick and his henchmen penetrate the stronghold in Munich. Jorick hijacks the trip and diverts them on a quest to reclaim the Heart of the Raven. Said to be the disembodied heart of Lilith, the relic may be more reality than myth, and if it falls into the wrong hands it could have disastrous consequences for the world. Can they reach its hiding place before Malick?
The fifth installment of the Amaranthine series sees Jorick and Katelina draw closer as they surround themselves with their own miniature army to outwit the machinations of the ancient master. Katelina grows stronger and learns to stand on her own because there’s no room for the fainthearted in a world where darkness is eternal and the night tastes like blood.
Excerpt
Malick drew to a stop and laughed. The struggle in Katelina’s mind ended and she stumbled backwards. Unbelievably, the elevator chimed, and she looked to see the doors slide open. For a moment she could see a short vampire standing inside the plush red compartment, and then it was gone.
The short vampiress was suddenly standing before Malick. She wore a loose flowing dress of blue and her long silver hair flowed down her back. Like a china doll, her face showed no age and no expression, but her cerulean eyes burned with anger.
Katelina clutched Jorick, too terrified to move. Those eyes were seared forever in her memory; it was the woman from the True Council.
The Scharfrichter seemed to realize it too, and the fighting ceased. Even the living, but prostrate vampires stopped moaning and lay still, as if mesmerized.
“So my presence is enough to rouse you?” Malick asked the vampiress. “I’m touched.”
The vampiress’ voice rang through the room, like crashing waves and summer bird song mixed together. “You are not welcome here.”
Malick drew himself up. The air crackled and Katelina’s chest tightened until she could barely breathe. When he spoke, his voice boomed, and it was only fear that stopped Katelina from covering her ears. “How unfortunate. I had hoped that you, most of all, would understand.”
“Understand what? That you have thrown aside your duties for your own selfish ends? Ishkur was right, you should never have been given power.”
“You’re using the old names again.” Malick’s smile grew. “Do you still find comfort in them?”
“Leave now and do no more harm.”
Malick laughed. “You have not warmed since our last meeting, Inanna. It’s no wonder. To hide in the earth while others live. It is nothing more than waking death. How can you be any warmer than the dead?” He stepped forward, his eyes alight. “Join me and be what you once were. Do you remember so many millennia ago when men sang your name? It could be that way again! There’s no need for us to hide, we could be gods!”
“You were never a god, only a greedy child. Those days are gone, as are those people. Modern man does not welcome gods, but topples them. Go now and repent in quiet, before it is too late for you.”
Review
Of all 5 books in the amaranthine series by Joleene Naylor, this one was the best yet. I could not set this book down. It had everything: intrigue, horror, romance, adventure, humor, and the best ending ever. I only hope the author is already working on book 6.
I have loved every book in this series, and they just seem to get better with each new book.
I especially loved all the new characters and all the places Jorick and Katelina traveled to.
Great read. Don’t miss out. Get your copy now.
About the Author
Joleene Naylor grew up in southwest Iowa surrounded by soybeans, corn and very little entertainment – so she made her own. She has been writing and drawing since she was a small child, with a particular leaning towards fantasy, horror and paranormal. It is this love of all that goes bump in the night that led her to write the Amaranthine series.
In her spare time she is a freelance artist, book cover designer and photographer. Her current projects include the sixth novel in the Amaranthine series, and The Terrible Turtle Conspiracy, a web manga collaboration with writer Jonathan Harvey. Joleene maintains blogs full of odd ramblings and hopes to win the lottery. Until she does, she and her husband live near Bolivar, Missouri, with their miniature zoo. However, unless she starts buying tickets she won’t win anything.
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"Gothic Genesis (Tales of the Gothic Warrior)" by Billy Wong

NEW RELEASE 
Gothic Genesis 
(Tales of the Gothic Warrior) 
by Billy Wong 
Description
This series is meant to be unrealistic fun. If complete believability is a must, it might not be for you… but if you like the sound of a non-magical female brawler standing toe to toe with huge men and monsters in brutal fistfights on sheer toughness and badassery, maybe it is.
After beating up a player from a rival football team, high school sports star Freya finds herself under investigation for his disappearance. Resolving to find him and clear her name herself, she teams up with psychic outcast Annabeth on a quest that will start a great friendship and change her life forever.
A short story. Prequel to the Gothic Warrior series.
Excerpt
Freya lay beneath the huge pasty boy, trying to blink her vision back through the continued hail of punches to her cheek and jaw.  She had challenged the star linebacker of a rival high school football team to a fight outside a closed gas station after he purposely injured her teammate, only to be surprised by his sudden attack while she tried to take off her jacket.  She remembered being blindsided by a stunning uppercut, saying “oh” weakly and slumping to the pavement before their schoolmates as her limbs lost all power.  She had to rally and fight back, but couldn’t find the strength.  Her body was nearly limp, and when Bobby the linebacker saw her head loll to the side, he halted the assault.
“Don’t stop,” she mumbled through torn lips.  “Keep hitting.”  If he let up, it would look like she had lost the fight.  Even now, she couldn’t accept that.  She still told herself, in a tiny whisper at the back of her head, that she could come back.
He resumed pounding her, making her eyes water and blood spray from her mouth.  Warm liquid dripped from his fists back onto her face from which it’d come.  “Why don’t you give up?” he asked pleadingly.  She could tell he hit her as hard as he could, but didn’t want to.  He did it out of respect for her wishes, for which she felt grateful.  She didn’t need his mercy.
Finally summoning a surge of energy, she grabbed his waist and rolled him over so that their places were reversed.  Now she hammered punches into his doughy face and he gaped in awe of her recovery and strength.  He raised his forearms to shield himself, and immediately she took the opportunity to snatch one of them, wrap her legs around and try for an armbar.  Bobby’s elbow started to pop, and he cried out in pain.  He rolled so that he crouched over her, one arm still trapped, and punched down with his free hand.  Shot after loud shot landed, and she lost her grip.  She clawed at his eyes, but he blocked the attempt and continued to batter her.  Her face an indistinct mass of pain, she turned to her side and curled up in a fetal ball.  Honoring her earlier request, he kept striking.
“Stop!” a high female voice said.  “She’s hurt!  Look at her body language, it’s saying she surrenders!  She’s helpless…”
That got Freya’s fire burning.  She threw an elbow up from her side and caught Bobby right on the chin.  He grunted and dropped to his hands and knees over her.  “Don’t presume to speak for me,” she spat at the small girl who had spoken.  She wore all black—black hair, black shirt, black pants, black makeup, black boots, black fingerless gloves.  Annabeth the antisocial goth.  They’d gone to the same school since junior high, but never interacted much.
“Sorry.  I just had a premonition someone would be in big trouble.”
Premonition?  Who even talked like that?  Freya scooted out from underneath her opponent and threw her legs up around his neck.  “You mean someone like Bobby?  I was just enjoying the face massage.”
Her real name was Star, no thanks to her hippie mom, but everyone called her Freya after a video game character known for being overpowered.  She possessed more strength and toughness than any teenage girl she knew, and most adults.  And she was considered the greatest warrior… of her high school.
Review
There are no reviews as yet. Be the first to review this new release after reading your FREE copy.
About the Author
Billy Wong is an avid fan of heroic fantasy, with a special love for strong female warriors. He draws inspiration from the epic legends of old, and is on a quest to bring over the top deeds and larger than life heroes back to prominence in today’s literary world.
Billy lives in Coney Island, Brooklyn. He has written numerous fantasy books, including the Iron Flower series and the Gothic Warrior series. The Iron Flower series consists of Iron Bloom, Iron Flower, and Iron Bonds. The Gothic Warrior series consists of Gothic Warrior and the Dark Man, Seeds of Despair, Gothic Gladiator, Best in the Elf-ing World, and Gothic Genesis.
Links

"When the World Ends… " by J. J. Marshall

INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY
NEW RELEASE
When the World Ends…
by J. J. Marshall
When the World Ends… is J. J. Marshall’s debut novel. The paperback is currently ON SALE for 10% off. You can read my interview with the author below. In addition, J. J. has generously donated three ebooks for our giveaway. Make sure you enter!
Description
At the dawn of the 22nd Century, the Earth is dead.
A lethal alien organism has rendered the planet uninhabitable and a small fraction of humanity has retreated to Space and the Moon.
Those that remain on Earth are trapped in huge Spheres that encompass entire cities, tinted to defend against the deadly UV radiation from which the atmosphere no longer protects Humanity.
17-year-old Alec Corbett lives aboard the adapted International Space Station. One ordinary day in his mundane life he transforms his potential when he discovers information that could expose the corruption of the Board of Officials that now controls Humanity. Armed with nothing but knowledge and his friend Jonah Jones by his side, Alec’s righteous judgment leads them on a merciless and unforgiving path.
For there is one key problem – the information comes from his father Landon Corbett; a member of the Board. Pitted against his own flesh and blood, Alec finds himself in a unique position to end the Board of Officials’ dictatorship over Humanity. However, all is not as it seems and as the stakes grow increasingly higher, Humanity reaches the brink of all-out-war.
Only Alec and his group of friends can peacefully negate the situation, but it all depends on whether or not anyone will listen to a 17-year-old boy.
Excerpt
‘They’re running out of space across the human empire’ Andrew said. His voice was deep and thick and Alec imagined that if he were to shout the sound would reverberate well. ‘Which is ironic considering we’re surrounded by it’.
‘It’s like they’re giving up on Earth’ Lola said. Her voice was laced with heavy traces of a Spanish accent and Alec wondered if she spoke the language. He hadn’t heard another language other than English…ever, he realised.
‘They are’ Alec confirmed. ‘They’re leaving them to it. As far as the Board of Official’s see it, people left on Earth have their Spheres and there’s just no room left’.
‘But the Spheres were never a long term solution’ Riley said. ‘In fact, they were never a solution at all. They were only supposed to be a temporary measure until more Moon bases were constructed. The Spheres aren’t sustainable; they’ll burnout after another ten years or so’.
‘By the sounds of it, it’s a sacrifice that the Board is willing to make’ Jay sighed heavily.
Their conversation was interrupted by a loud, metallic ringing. Alec looked around bewildered whilst everyone else turned to the handset that was fixed to the wall in the kitchen.
‘No one ever calls’ Andrew frowned, causing his glasses to slip down his nose slightly. ‘Not since we discovered that calls were always monitored’.
‘Must be important then’ Jay said, stepping from the carpet to the linoleum and picking up the receiver that hung from the wall. Alec recognized the attachment as something which he had once seen in an old-Earth film but he couldn’t recall the name of the device. ‘Hello?’ Jay said, taking the oblong-shaped gadget and holding it against the side of his head. One end reached towards his mouth whilst the other end was pressed against his ear.
Jay remained silent and listened, nodding to himself and saying ‘yes’ or ‘okay’ on the odd occasion. After a few minutes he thanked the caller and placed the device back on the wall.
‘Who was it?’ Riley asked unable to contain her anticipation.
‘Apparently this habitation just won a lottery which we were entered into on our last food order’ Jay said, his eyes dull and his voice flat. ‘Our reward is a place on MoonBase1’.
Everyone’s expression fell slack and they stared in disbelief.
‘It’s begun’ Alec realised. ‘They’ve already started the scheme!’
Jonah turned around and opened the front door. Out in the corridor people were already chatting excitedly, the hot words on everyone’s lips being ‘lottery’ and ‘MoonBase1’.
‘They’ve already called the people they’re going to transport’ Jonah said, unable to bring himself to state their true destiny.
‘We have to stop this’ Alec said adamantly. Every muscle in his body was clenched and everyone else had also tensed in anger against what the Board was planning on doing. ‘We can’t allow this to happen’.
Book Trailer
Review
When the world ends is the debut novel from exciting new author, J. J Marshall. Set 100 years in the future, the 21st century earth as we know it now, is slowly being burned up by the sun and the story follows 17 year old Alec Corbett’s struggle to proper in the new harsh environment of space. Not only that, but there are more sinister forces at work beneath the surface, who pose a threat to all of humanity. And somehow Alec gets right in the middle of trying to stop it!
Being drawn into this futuristic world is quite an experience. The twisty turny plot will keep you captivated from beginning to end and Marshall will completely absorb you into this make believe world that he has created. Through detailed description, he leaves no stone unturned and it is a credit to the depth of his imagination that translates every aspect of this new version of earth on to the page.
The main protagonist, Alec is likeable and well explored. His character sees the biggest progression as the novel continues and he has been given a sufficient amount of emotional depth to allow the reader to care about what happens to him. His dialogues with other characters are well thought out and help to continuously move the plot forward in a gripping way. The introduction of a main character reasonably late in the novel was an unexpected and exciting occurrence and I look forward to seeing her develop further in the remaining two books of the trilogy.
This book is a well written, gripping, plot driven adventure and Marshall’s easily readable style makes it effortless to read. Within its pages there something for everyone – from action to romance and everything in between. The author skilfully keeps you enthralled with shock revelations and a fast pace that makes it addictively entertaining. I am definitely looking forward to see how the story continues so make sure you don’t miss out on this thrilling new summer read.
Interview With the Author
Hi J.J., thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, When the World Ends…
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Definitely J.K. Rowling; it was her first book that made me start writing in the first place. Since the age of 10/11 I’ve written because I was inspired by J. K. to try and create worlds beyond our own.
What age group do you recommend your book for?
My book is aimed at young adults, or 12+. Although many of the readers so far have been in their late teens/early twenties (and some older!) and all feedback has been overwhelmingly positive; they’ve all really enjoyed it.
What sparked the idea for this book?
The idea of this novel came from a dream. I dreamt of a man looking down on an uninhabitable Earth, with his son beside him, both wondering about the fate of his wife. It spiralled from there really, although it turned into something completely different and became this post-apocalyptic, revolution story.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
The two main characters (protagonist Alec, the son, and antagonist Landon, the father) were there from the very start. Interestingly, Landon was going to be the main character initially, but that changed before I’d even started writing.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I think trying to do justice to the finale was difficult. I’d had this image in my head of what it was going to be like for so long that when I came to put it on the page, I struggled because I just wanted to get it all in and I wanted it to be perfect.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope that they’re able to engage with characters on an emotional level, whether it be empathising with them, loving them or hating them. Because once you’re hooked on good characters then the plot is automatically interesting because you care for these people. It’s a sci-fi novel and I hope that it can change people’s opinion of such genre novels and show them that it’s not what they think.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me two and a half years to write. I took a break of roughly five months because I came to university and just put it on the back-burner because of all the new stuff I had going on.
What is your writing routine?
I don’t have a routine, I just write when I can find the time which is often either late at night or early morning. For some reason, even though I’m tired, I’m at my most creative then. I think because I dream so much about my novels and the characters, night time is a really good time for me. I have to be sitting at a desk or table too, I can’t just sit on the sofa or a bed.
How did you get your book published?
I published my book through AuthorHouse, which is a self-publishing agency. Initially I just wanted to be able to say that I’d published a book, so I worked hard to make sure that When the World Ends… was the best it could possibly be. The reception to the novel is what is spurring me to pursue it further in terms of a writing career. I never thought about it until the first reviews started coming in and people genuinely loved the book.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Believe in yourself. It is so difficult to get an agent and to get a publisher to take on your novel (hence why I went down the self-publishing route – I didn’t have the time to pursue these people). But if you believe in your work and you genuinely believe that it will work, then go for it. J. K. Rowling was turned down by twelve publishers. Imagine that – twelve publishing houses turning down Harry Potter!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I don’t get a lot of free time, between doing my degree at the University of Reading and part-time work. I like to just hang out with friends, catch up and socialize because writing and the two aforementioned things take up a lot of time where I don’t get to see friends.
What does your family think of your writing?
I think they’re surprised, because none of them particularly read that much and none of them write. So they don’t know where I get it from! But they’re very supportive. My nan has bought the book both in paperback and a Kindle version!
That’s so sweet. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was born and raised in south London and I went to a Roman Catholic secondary school. I lived with my mum for a time and then with my dad, whom I lived with until I went to university.
Did you enjoy school?
Most of the time, yes. I enjoyed most of my subjects (except for maths and the sciences which involved maths!). My favourite subjects were geography (which I now study at university), English and Spanish. I was fortunate to go to a really great secondary school.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I loved reading!! I still do. I used to read all the time, when I’d come home from school and especially through the summer holidays. My family used to go on two week holidays and I could read anything between 5 and 10 books in that time. The rate at which I read has sadly dwindled the older I’ve become, being an adult is rubbish!
You can say that again! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I published When the World Ends… and received such positive feedback. Obviously I had dreamed about it before then, but it only became a reality when I realized that people actually enjoyed my work.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Definitely. I loved reading so much and it was such a big part of my life. It taught me about escapism; getting away from reality for a bit and losing yourself in a book, and I thought it would be fantastic if I could create something like that: my own little world!
What was your favorite book as a child?
I think it would be wrong for me to say anything other than Harry Potter. All of them! When Order of the Phoenix was released my mum bought it for me and I’m pretty sure I read it in a day. I just loved the whole world and the characters and, like many other people my age I’m sure, I just wanted to go to Hogwarts! I genuinely hoped that on the night of my 11th birthday I would get a visit from Hagrid. Can you imagine my disappointment?!
Who were your favorite authors as a child (as if I can’t guess)?
J. K. Rowling. But I’ve said enough about her! Anthony Horowitz played a big part of my mid-teens when I discovered Alex Rider. When I realized I wasn’t a wizard I decided I wanted to be him, which seemed more realistic! I also loved his Power of Five. That was such an incredibly fantasy/supernatural series.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I hear a little, I’m still expanding my readership at the moment. Many people enjoy the pace of the book and they say they find it hard to put down. Which is good because I did that on purpose! I deliberately ended each chapter with a cliff-hanger or something that would make you want to keep reading. I love books like that, so I’m glad that I was able to do that for my own novel.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
There’s the rest of the trilogy!! This is just the first book. The second book, …Humanity Falls… is hopefully going to be released at Christmas time, once all the editing and read-throughs have been done! Then the third book will probably be released Christmas 2014 – I’ve barely started writing that yet so it’s in the very early stages. After the trilogy I have a novel lined up about two reality-hopping brothers (another dream I had!), which I’m really looking forward to writing because this trilogy has taken up all my creativity over the past few years!
It’s been a pleasure chatting with you today. Thanks for contributing the prizes for our giveaway. I wish you the best for future writing projects.
From the Author
I am currently studying a BSc Physical Geography Degree at the University of Reading in Berkshire, England, with the intention of pursuing a career in teaching secondary school pupils. I was born and raised in England and am presently twenty years old. When the World Ends… is my first publication and I’m incredibly excited to be working with the people at AuthorHouse in bringing my story to real, tangible pages!
Writing has always been a hobby and a passion of mine from a very young age; I can recall writing a novel on my first family computer which was inspired (as well as a being blatant rip-off!) of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was really this book; the first full novel I had ever read by myself, that inspired me to write for myself and to create worlds beyond our own and fictions that can redefine the past or give suppositions about the future.
I would list J. K. Rowling as one of my top inspirations, as well as the likes of Anthony Horowitz, Iain Banks, Charlaine Harris, and Suzanne Collins. I also draw inspiration from TV shows and scriptwriters, such as Joss Whedon, J. J. Abrams, Maurissa Tancharoen, Steven Moffat, and Jane Espenson. Their work and the way that they construct characters and stories spur and challenge me to create my own little realities.
So welcome to one of my little realities! I hope you enjoy it.
Giveaway
The author has kindly donated three ebook copies of When the World Ends… for our giveaway. Please show your appreciation by entering.
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"Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula" by Elise Stokes

FREE Kindle Edition to 30 September
Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula
by Elise Stokes
Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula is the first book in the Cassidy Jones Adventures series. You can get it FREE to 30 September. Please note that this book is NOT free on Amazon UK, but it can be downloaded FREE from Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.
Two more books in the series are also available: Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, Book Two and Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant, Book Three. The fourth book will be released in 2014.


Description
One Girl. One Accident. One Incredible Superhero.
Cassidy Jones is your typical fourteen-year-old – that is, until a seemingly harmless accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist turns her world upside down.
Discovering incredible strength, speed, and enhanced physical senses that defy logic, Cassidy embarks on an action-packed adventure that has her fighting for answers … and for her very life.
Excerpt
I wrenched open the tailgate and dove out head-first. My hands made contact with the rocky dirt and I flipped up, landing squarely on my feet. Silver Tooth already had the gun on me.
My eyes zeroed in on a jagged-edged rock at my feet. In one fluid movement, I reached down, grabbed the rock, and hurled it toward the gun. My movements were so quick that Silver Tooth didn’t realize what had happened until the rock tore through the top of his hand, embedding in the thin flesh.
Letting out a piercing scream, Silver Tooth dropped the gun. Diving forward, I had it in mine before it hit the ground. When he looked up, he was looking down the barrel of his own weapon.
Though in pain, he kept his voice even, menacing. “Who sent you?”
I couldn’t very well answer in my young female voice, so I kept silent, clasping the gun that I had no idea how to shoot.
Peripherally, I saw one man’s hand move toward his holster. Before his hand moved a fraction of an inch more, I turned the gun on him. His hands flew up in the air in surrender. I moved the gun to the other man, who mimicked his friend, raising his hands in the air. Silver Tooth flinched. The gun moved back to him. Silver Tooth laughed low. Holding up his limp hand, he asked me, “Do you mind?” Taking my silence as consent, he savagely ripped the rock from his flesh.
Perspiration beaded on his forehead. “Why don’t you tell me what you want,” he said steadily.
I kept quiet.
He lifted his chin toward Ben. “Do you want him?”
Still, I didn’t respond, at a loss of how to cross this bridge.
“The silent type, eh? How about I do the talking. You want what we all want: the assassin.”
Who is the assassin?
His lips lifted, revealing the silver tooth. “No reason we can’t share, eh? Be partners. Together, we take these Kings out of the equation.” Smiling, he waited.
After seconds of silence, his face contorted in frustration. “Do we have a deal or not? Talk!”
Well, I certainly couldn’t do that, and I wasn’t using the gun in my hands. Simultaneously, I tossed the gun behind me and kicked Silver Tooth square in the chest. I could hear the wind leave his body. He flew backwards and landed on his back, gasping.
Adrenaline rushed through my veins. The night sky brightened, revealing everything around me in a new light. I perceived every physical detail of my adversaries, breathing in the smell of their skin and hair, tasting their fear on my tongue. Time and space slowed. Everything slowed but me.
Book Trailer
Review
Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula is one of the most creative books that I have ever read- the depth of imagery that Elise Stokes words weave put her book on par with a graphic novel, the depth of feeling and expression and thought that is expressed is equal to some of the more classic novels.. all the while keeping it engaging for all levels- appropriate for ages of kids preteen to adult, with varying occupations and interests. (I’m a 27 year old mother of two little girls with a degree in engineering and a job in graphic design! and my cousins, boys and girls, ages 13-18 love it!)
Definitely a must read!
About the Author
Elise Stokes lives with her husband and four children. She was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom. With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise’s understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate girls to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence. The stories in Cassidy Jones Adventures are fun and relatable, and a bit edgy without taking the reader uncomfortably out of bounds. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, and Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant are the first three books in the series. Book Four, Cassidy Jones and the Luminous, will be released in 2014.
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"Best in the Elf-ing World (Tales of the Gothic Warrior)" by Billy Wong

Best in the Elf-ing World
(Tales of the Gothic Warrior)
by Billy Wong
Description
Lighthearted (but violent) fantasy action featuring one butt-kicking heroine.
When the world’s greatest mixed martial arts fighter challenges goth singer and ultimate brawler Freya to a match, she eagerly accepts the chance to battle a legend. To her surprise, she soon receives an offer of training from an otherworldly visitor. What she doesn’t know is that her elvish benefactor has plans for her beyond just a celebrity cage fight.
A short story. Fourth chronologically in the Gothic Warrior series, but the stories do not have to be read in order.
Excerpt
Freya sat in the corner of her band’s studio, nostalgically watching the fantasy movie they had made based on her.  While not completely true to life, the over the top action reminded her of treasured memories.  After the evil billionaire Frederick Gamer was imprisoned for murder, she had come to almost regret turning him in.  Sure, he deserved it for running an illegal fighting tournament with the goal of having fighters torn apart by his pet.  But she secretly dreamed of receiving an invite to participate in such a tournament again.
She was still in her early twenties, yet felt somewhat old and jaded knowing there might be few worthy challenges left in the world for her iron fists, which had spelled the lizard-ape’s doom.  She hugged her sword Empty Blue close to her.  An oversized prop used in music videos, the great blunt blade hid a live one that had killed a demon before.
“Oh Empty Blue,” she whispered, woozy with drugs and drink, “sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I lived in a world of dragons and elves like the ones that inspired you.”
“Freya, what’s wrong?” her psychic bandmate Annabeth asked, seeing her glum look.  “You look sad.”
“I’m fine.  I just haven’t had a good fight in a while.  Life gets boring when you’re not being challenged.”
“Then I might have good news.  I had a dream you’re about to have a great battle.”
She sat up.  “You mean like a vision-dream or a something-on-your-mind-dream?”
“A vision I think.”  Annabeth frowned.  “But I wish you’d grow up and stop wanting to fight.  You’re always getting hurt so bad.”
She’d taken four assault rifle bullets from Frederick Gamer’s men.  But she had still kicked the asses of the lizard-ape and a dozen guards.  “It’s not that bad for me.  I’m the Gothic warrior you know.”  She stumbled up out of her seat.  “And since the Gothic warrior’s about to get a decent test again, I say we girls go out and celebrate.”
“Are you sure you should do that?  You’re already all drunk and drugged up.”
“So you can watch over me and keep me safe, Annabeth.”
The smaller goth girl sighed, knowing she couldn’t be denied.  They got in Freya’s car, Annabeth driving, and headed out.
#
Later that night, Freya sat feeling sluggish at her favorite bar.  She threw back another shot of absinthe and wondered if Annabeth was enjoying her dance with that fanboy who had bothered her.  She heard footsteps approaching from behind.  “Annabeth you sound heavy.  Are you drunk?  Better not be.”
“I’m not Annabeth,” a cool voice said.
Freya glanced back.  A big blonde woman stood behind her, maybe five ten, five eleven.  She wore ample clothes, but seemed pretty sturdy underneath that jacket and sweatshirt.  She was in her late twenties, or maybe early thirties, and her face looked to have been on the receiving end of quite a few brutal beatings.  “And who’s you?”
The woman didn’t favor her with an answer.  Instead she asked, “Do you think that you’re the strongest girl in the world?”
“I don’t know.  Haven’t had the pleasure of meeting every other girl.  But I’m probably the strongest who’s somewhat well known.”  Not a lot of females could snap the back of a gorilla sized lizard-ape over her knee or take dozens of punches and knees from giant men, after all.
“How quickly people forget.”  The woman sat beside her.  She did look kind of familiar, now that Freya thought about it…  “Bartender, remote.”
Review
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About the Author
Billy Wong is an avid fan of heroic fantasy, with a special love for strong female warriors. He draws inspiration from the epic legends of old, and is on a quest to bring over the top deeds and larger than life heroes back to prominence in today’s literary world.
Billy lives in Coney Island, Brooklyn. He has written numerous fantasy books, including the Iron Flower series and the Gothic Warrior series. The Iron Flower series consists of Iron Bloom, Iron Flower, and Iron Bonds. The Gothic Warrior series consists of Gothic Warrior and the Dark Man, Seeds of Despair, Gothic Gladiator, and Best in the Elf-ing World.
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