“Shadow Blade”: A high fantasy novel of intrigue and mystery

Shadow Blade

Spies and assassins, deception, adventure, magic – Shadow Blade, by Chris Barili has it all. With an intriguing story line that keeps readers guessing, with twists and turns around every corner, this story is everything a fantasy adventure should be. In the tradition of high fantasy, Barili has created a rich medieval style world of kings and castles, princesses and assassins, where magic is addictive and nothing is as it seems.

When a Denari Lai assassin falls in love with his target, it’s pretty certain that things are going to get complicated. Throw a second assassin into the mix and it’s near certain that there will be trouble and things may not end well. As you get to know Ashai, the Denari Lai assassin whose heart may be bigger than his training, and Princess Makari, whose kindness has earned the adoration and respect of an entire kingdom, you’ll find that you can’t help but root for them both to triumph against all odds.

Ashai didn’t intend to fall in love with Makari, but when he does it proves to be quite a dilemma. His love for her goes against everything he’s been taught, causing him to question his training. When a Denari Lai is set on a target, he stops at nothing to accomplish the sanction, but in a sudden turn of the tables, Ashai will now stop at nothing to prevent it. In his quest to save the woman who now haunts his dreams, he becomes a target. He doesn’t know who to trust, but he finds allies in some unsuspected places, enemies lurking in the shadows, and a surprise around every corner. He’ll do anything to keep Makari safe, even forfeiting the very magic that he draws his strength from and risking his very existence.

Chris Barili has crafted a delightful fantasy adventure in Shadow Blade. It has a well- developed fantasy world, with unique and memorable characters that will stay with you. You won’t want to put it down. I give it five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Writing for a YA Audience: Interview with FANYA’S illustrator.

Writing for a Y.A. Audience

Every book is a collaboration. I work with editors, cover artists, and the publishers in so many ways behind the scenes.  A few years ago, I got to collaborate in a different way.  This time it was with a local illustrator, Aaron Siddall.  He had an idea for a YA steampunk story.  He would illustrate it and I would write it.  We created a world of magic and mysterious creatures, and the book was released on November 14, 2018 from CHBB Publishing.  *Hold for applause, wink wink.*

Fanya - cover

I would like to introduce Aaron Siddall to all of you. We met years ago when I joined the Utica Writers Club.

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JE: When did you join the Utica Writers Club?  What do you like most about it?

AS:  The Utica Writers Club and I came together in 2010. I do write and occasionally read from things that I am working on, but I mostly attend for the creative energy. That and I find that writers make for excellent friends.

JE: How long have you been an illustrator?

AS: I’ve had a passion for art all of my life, but I had my first professional experience as an illustrator in 2001 working for Kenzer & Company and White Wolf Studios, both as a freelancer.

JE: What are some of the projects you’ve illustrated?

AS: Its hard to narrow down to favorites. But several stand out, such as; High Towers and Strong Places: A Political History of Middle Earth by Tim Furnish and published by Oloris Publishing.  How Robin Hood Became an Outlaw by Learning A-Z. Ravenloft Denizens of Darkness by White Wolf Studios.

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JE: How did you come up with the idea for FANYA?

AS:  In a discussion concerning Steampunk and Fairy tales that I was involved with, I compared elements from both in relation to our world in the late 1800s (the Victorian era). In doing so, Russia and Alaska at the time were in the midst of tumultuous times, as there are many marvelous Russian Fairy Tales and the legends of the First Nations have many similar legends, these elements came together naturally in my mind.

World Map JPEG

JE: How did you come up with the title?

AS: Fanya is a name that shows up in both Russian and Inuit and Aleut peoples.

JE: What do you hope people take away from FANYA IN THE UNDERWORLD?

AS: Overall, I hope that people enjoy the action and magic of the setting. There is a great deal to think on and enjoy.

JE: What is your favorite illustration from the book?

AS: The one of Mr. Beisy on the doorstep in chapter two.

We hope you enjoy reading FANYA IN THE UNDERWORLD.  Reviews and emails are always appreciated.  If you love the artwork as much as I do, merchandise is available here.

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Artemis: From Vigilanty Diety to Superhero

Artemis

 

One town, two killers and the body count is rising.  Artemis, by Chris Snider is the tale of how freak set of circumstances turned an ordinary scientist on the brink of death into something no longer human. With superhuman powers, including the ability to command animals, Joseph Art becomes Artemis, defender of animals and the innocent or vulnerable. The police don’t know whether they should string him up as a vigilante, or pin a medal on him. After he comes face to face with the evil clown axe murderer, the stakes are raised and the hunt becomes personal, and no one knows what will happen when the two killers confront one another a final time.

The individual storylines are skillfully woven into a single plotline and action filled climax. I give Artemis four quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Interview with author Ashley Scott

Ashley Scott

I always love to do interviews with new authors, because they get so excited. The first interview I ever did, with Dan Alatore, I was riding on the top of the world. For me, it signified that this was it and I was really a published author. Today we have an up and coming author with us, Ashley Scott, whose debute novel is a dark fantasy action thriller, Demon Anarchy. She’s here today to tell us about her book and a little about herself, as well.

Kaye: Would you share the story of your own publishing journey?

Ashley: My publishing story began with a manuscript of course. Once completed, my beta readers tore it apart piece by piece. I had to make changes before daring to pass it along to my editor, who also helped strengthen my story, Demon Anarchy, before deciding where to publish. Should I publish through a house or self publish through a website? After doing some research I decided to self publish through Amazon with assistance of a few friends who have done this process before. I love how simple it was however my next goal is to publish a book through a publishing house.

Kaye: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?

Ashley: I guess you could say a little bit of both. If I plot out my story chapter by chapter (I’ve tried this method before and it took me weeks, I finally accomplished beginning to end and threw all my notes out because I grew bored of the story). This proved to me I required some mystery involved in plotting my stories. So now I write very minimal notes and type what comes to mind. I believe some plotting is good to keep the flow of your story and to keep your readers interested.

Kaye: What is the one thing in your writing career that is the most unusual or unique thing you’ve done so far?

Ashley: Um….how about try ‘too hard’? If that’s a thing? I used to get up in the early hours of dawn to type a page or two before going to college or going to work. I also used to trial so many different methods of plotting and note taking it drove me insane! So I settled for what currently works and blocked out a reasonable amount of time during the day to type.

Kaye: Would you like to talk a little about your blog or website?

Ashley: Currently, I don’t have a blog. I only have a website where you can find a buy link to my book Demon Anarchy along with my contact information and monthly author interviews I post to help authors succeed at reaching out to their audiences.

Kaye: What was the most fun interview you’ve ever done? Why?

Ashley: I’ve only completed a few author interviews so far, I think all of them are fun to do in a way.

Kaye: Would you like to tell us a little about Demon Anarchy?

Ashley: Would I ever! It’s not only a page flipper flooded with action including explosive weaponry, but also combined with entrancing romantic encounters and a twisted plot line. It opens to New York City, the big apple, where the reader discovers demons lurching in the shadows of the city living off the blood of humans. Only agents know of their existence, the rest are left blind to the war about to appear within the allies and streets.

Time isn’t on their side when the agents discover the leader of the demons appear and wreak havoc among the city by rallying the numbers, creating Demon Anarchy.

Demon Anarchy

Kaye: If Demon Anarchy was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Ashley: I keep jumping between two main characters. Alice, an agent trained to kill demons, and Damien a half demon who feels trapped between the human the demon world. Damien would be my first choice, Mr. Bad Apple and won’t take a no for an answer, however Alice whose stubborn and strong willed personality takes a close second. I would cast Milla Jovovich as Alice, and Christian Bale as Damien.

Kaye: It seems that you travel quite a bit. Have any of the places you’ve traveled ended up in your books? Which ones?

Ashley: I love to travel, which is why I’ve traveled different parts of the world with my husband. Yes, I’ve traveled to New York City which is the setting for my story Demon Anarchy as portrayed with descriptions of alleyways during rainy nights and the busy crowded streets filled with people during the day. I always thought the big apple would be the perfect location for demons lurking in the shadows.

Kaye: What is the strangest inspiration for a story you’ve ever had?

Ashley: Not sure….there has been so many random moments where all I have to do is listen to the right music or see something that sparks my imagination and my thoughts go wild.

Kaye: What can you tell us about what’s in store for your readers? Any WIPs you’d like talk about?

Ashley: I’m currently 22 weeks pregnant and am due in November, so my writing has slowed down a bit. But I’m still hammering away at the first book of a trilogy consisting of young women who revolutionize their kingdom in the early 1800’s. The book I’m currently typing is about a young woman who fights against the world of men to become the first female professor in her kingdom by entering the king’s challenge, a challenge of the mind proven to pluck out the smartest individual in Cirus whose worthy enough to tutor the future heir to the throne. However within time the plot could change a little depending on my mood/interest, but this is the strongest plot I’m currently focusing a lot of my time and effort on.

Kaye: Describe yourself in three words.

Ashley: Friendly. Gregarious. Social.

Kaye: Your introduction on your Facebook page says, “Multi-tasking is my talent”. Besides writing, what are your other talents?

Ashley: Playing tennis, editing manuscripts, and developing exercise programs for the elderly.

I want to thank Ashley Scottt for joining us today. I hope you had as much fun answering the questions as I did asking them. For those of you who would like to learn more about Ashley Scott and her writing, you can drop by any of the links below.
Links:
Author Website: www.authorashleylscott.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.scott.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorashscott
Amazon Author Website: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B01M0KUCO5/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true
Book Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Anarchy-Ashley-Scott-ebook/dp/B01LXLWA6I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531256826&sr=8-1&keywords=Demon+Anarchy
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/1/115295645549324942619
Ashley Scott Banner

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If you’re an author and you’d like to be interviewed on Writing to be Read, email Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com and put Interview Request in the subject line.


Our New World: An enigma filled with paradox

Our New World

Our New World, by Desiree King is the story of a diverse world united at last. Human, Vampire, Magi, Shapeshifters and Fae are all able to dwell in harmony at last, and Sidney and Darien the Dark Prince are both anticipating comeing into their own. But the laws of this new world require they must be wed to assume their rightful places, and they forbid them to marry one another. This is a problem because these two childhood sweethearts are all grown up and hopelessly in love. All the odds are against their ever being together, but Darien has a plan and Sidney is determined, and love conquers all.

The title causes a problem in logic because the characters are calling this “our new world”, but Sidney and Darien share a birthdate, and are both just coming of age, and it seems this new world structure has been in place for much longer than their brief lifespans to date. For me, it seems as if the characters would not be looking at this as their new world, but as the only world they have ever known.

Also my suspension of disbelief could have used more sensory details, to make me smell, hear and feel this world that the author has plunged me into.  In spite of the fact that the characters felt stereotyped and lacked depth, I liked them and found myself anticipating when I would be able to learn what happened next.

Also, I didn’t realize until late in the story who the antagonist was. We don’t see how really bad he is until well into the story, so appears as more of an obstacle to be overcome, rather than an adversary, right up until the scene where Henry punishes Sidney because his previous punishments have had no effect and it ticks him off. Only then, are we allowed a glimpse of his cold cruelty, and I have to say, the realization was a shock.

My biggest problem with this story was the fact that although the protagonist is reputed to be a deadly combat fighter and carries the blood lines of not only magi, but a powerful fire fae, it seems someone else is always coming to her rescue, either Darien the Dark Prince, or her bff and P.A., or her Fae grandfather, Eldon. I had difficulty buying into the idea that this spoiled little rich girl with status, was ready to step up and take a council seat or run her city, when she continuously put her own selfish desires ahead of what was best for her city or their new world. Oh, they talked about the possible consequences, but then she presses forward and does as she pleases without a second thought.

Despite this story’s many problems, I found the storyline to be one which held my interest and I found myself wanting to know what happens next. And after all, that’s what is important, isn’t it? I give Our New World three quills.

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“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”: A Different Sort of Movie

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Although the Harry Potter movies were geared toward a young audience, adults enjoyed them as well. But as Harry Potter grew older throughout the series, so did the main viewers. The 2016 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them expands J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World for an older audience, leaving Harry and his friends waiting in the England of the future. Even if you haven’t seen any of the Harry Potter movies, you can easily follow the events of this movie, as it easily stands on its own merit.

The creatures in this movie are fantastic example of creativity, and the imaging is awesome. The story is crafted in a way that draws you into the story subtly. You’re so involved with the fish out of water story of Newt Scamander and his suitcase full of marvelous creatures in 1926 New York, that the A story line almost escapes notice in the background until Newt solves the mystery of what kind of beast is terrorizing the city.

I found Fantasic Beasts and Where to Find Them to be thoroughly entertaining; a fresh take on a fascinating and beloved world. I give it four quills.

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Interview with Author Kasi Blake

kasi

I’m pleased to welcome speculative fiction author Kasi Blake to Writing to be Read today. Kasi likes to write about vampires and werewolves and witches, oh my! I invited Kasi to join us today because she’s doing something different with her 4-Ever Hunted series, which encourages reader participation. I thought was kind of clever, and I asked her to share her creative marketing idea with us. But first, lets learn a little about Kasi and her books.

Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Kasi: When I was 12. I read The Outsiders in class and then started a short story. It slowly progressed from there.

Kaye: You have three series out. Would you like to tell us a little about each one?

Kasi: The Rule series is basically a YA Urban Fantasy series about a vampire boy who goes legit. Meaning, he turns mortal through a freak event and loses the fangs. This is great for Jack, because he hated being a vampire. He just wants to be normal, but then he falls for a werewolf hunter and discovers his true destiny.

Witch Games

The Witch-Game books are about teen girls with powers. They use them to play games at school beginning with one called Crushed. They enchant boys and compel them to do their bidding. Witch Hunt is more like hide-n-seek for witches. They both have romance and a bit of mystery.

Bait

Bait starts off the Order of the Spirit Realm series. The titles are a little strange here: Bait, Hunter, Warrior, Legend. These are the ranks the students at Van Helsing’s school receive as they work their way up the hunting ladder. Bay-Lee is his daughter, but she doesn’t get special treatment. In fact, the gorgeous hunter assigned to be her mentor hates her on sight. This series is set in New Zealand and has all the action, sweet romance, and monsters you could possibly hope for.

4-Ever Hunted

Kaye: In 4-Ever Hunted, you’re offering your readers a say in how the series turns out. This is a cool and unique thing to do in your writing. Would you like to tell us how that works?

Kasi: After you read 4-Ever Hunted, there is a link at the end explaining that you can choose Dani or Scarlet as his love interest. Read the book and at the end, there is a link to click on, which takes you to my 4-Ever Hunted Facebook page, where you can vote for the girl you’d like to see him end up with at the end of the series. This book is free with Kindle Unlimited, so no purchase is necessary to vote, but you do need to read the story.

Also, feel free to post and try to sway people to your side in the comments. You can change your vote until voting closes after I begin to write book three. Majority rules. I like both girls, so I know how to make either relationship work, depending on who is picked. Trick will wind up falling in love with and sharing a romance (not to mention action-packed adventure) in book three and four.  Think of it as team Edward or team Jacob, with the readers in control. It’s all up to you, the readers.

LegendKaye: Legend is your most recent release. Would you like to tell us a little about that?

Kasi: Legend is the final book in the Order of the Spirit Realm series and wraps up life at Van Helsing’s school for Bay-Lee, Nick, Mike, and the rest of the young hunters. Monsters from the other realm have found a way to blow the doorway between them wide open. It’s all-out war. Who will win? Who will survive?

 

Kaye: What are you working on now? What can we expect in the future from Kasi Blake?

Kasi: I am currently writing 4-Ever Cursed, book two in the 4-Ever Hunted series. I plan to do all four books in a row, if possible. Then, I have an exciting fairy tale series like none other coming your way. Cursed by a Grimm is a dark fairy tale about a fading faerie realm, the wicked Ivory Queen who will do anything to stay in power, and a strange creature hiding in the shadows. The Grimm will either help Shayne save the realm and find true love. Or he will lead her down the wrong path and destroy everything.

Kaye: How do you decide the titles for your books? Where does the title come in the process for you?

Kasi: The titles come from the books themselves. I usually don’t name them until the book is either done or the entire outline is at least finished. Vampires Rule is something Cowboy says to Jack all the time. He loves being a vampire; Jack loathes it. Then it goes from there. Werewolves Rule and so on. Crushed and Witch Hunt are named after the games the witches play. Bait, as I already said, was named after the ranks the hunters get.

4-Ever Hunted is unusual because it comes from the fact that Cowboy and Summer want a fourth for their group. Cowboy is obsessed with having four members. They make the mistake of setting their sights on a hunter though. The question is, will Trick become the thing he hates most in order to save his own life?

Kaye: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?

Kasi: Plotter. I feel like I need a map so I know where I’ll end up. I don’t understand pantsers. I would get lost without my map. Although, the outline does change several times during the process as I write. I leave room for character growth. Sometimes they do things that surprise me and turn my outline upside-down.

Kaye: You write about vampires and werewolves and shape shifters. What kind of research do you find yourself doing for your stories? 

Kasi: I only research creatures that are new to me. Most of the mythology I make up so that it will be new and fresh like how vampires and werewolves were created by a faerie.

Kaye: What do you do for cover art? DIY, or hired out, or cookie cutter prefab?

Kasi: I started off doing them on my own, and they were not that great. Crushed and Witch Hunt were published by Clean Teen Publishing, so the covers were created by the awesome Marya Heidel. The Bait series and the vampire series were done by a woman just starting out in the business. I don’t even think she does it anymore. The awesome 4-Ever Hunted books are all by a great artist I found on Fiverr. Off the top of my head, I don’t remember her name, but she is listed at the front of the book as the designer.

Kaye: You have a blog, Supernatural Slant. How did that start?

Kasi: They say all authors need a blog, so this started off as a blog about writing, but I am obsessed with the show Supernatural. So, it went off more in that direction. I still blog about my books, sometimes books I like, but the blog is about Supernatural, the show, and shows like it now more than anything else.

Kaye: What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?

Kasi: I like to write late at night and early in the morning because there are no distractions then. I’m not getting phone calls, and people aren’t asking me to do favors for them or help them out or just wanting to talk. Plus, it is so peaceful when others are asleep.

Kaye: Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?

Kasi: Reading, shopping, hanging with friends, and I love all my animals. I live on a farm, so taking care of them and watching them do silly things is always entertaining.

Kaye: Which author, dead or alive, would you love to have lunch with?

Kasi: I guess I would have to say JK Rowling, because I really want to know what it feels like to have your world made not only in movies but also in a theme park. I’d never want to go home.

Vampires RuleKaye: My final question is one you may get asked a lot because of your Rule series, but you had to know it was coming. Who does actually rule, vampires or werewolves?

Kasi: I go back and forth on this. Sometimes I like vampires better, and sometimes I prefer werewolves. It depends on which character I’m writing at the time.

I want to thank Kasi Blake for joining us today, sharing about her books and letting us get to know her. If you want to know more about Kasi or her books, you can check out her website, or her author page on either Amazon or Goodreads.

 

Next week there won’t be a Monday post because I’m being interviewed on Authors Talk About It and I’ll be promoting that. Then, on Monday, September 4th, we’ll be treated to an excerpt form author Scerina Elizabeth, before delving into my seven part series Book Marketing – What Works? on Monday September 11th. So don’t miss it, on Writing to be Read.

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