Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
Top set of links above are external links, second set are pages local to the blog.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Chrys Fey - Witch/Ghost Blog Tour

Today I am very pleased to welcome Chrys Fey to my blog on her Witch/Ghost Blog tour. Chrys and I met through the AtoZchallenge and she's a wonderful author.

Real Witches

By

Chrys Fey

I have a deep love of witches and the supernatural, so I combined both to create my story, Witch of Death. I wanted the excitement that surrounds anything that is supernatural as well as the real aspects of being a witch today. The heroine and main witch in Witch of Death is Detective Liberty Sawyer. She solves murders and has psychic dreams. I’m sure there are witches just like her out there, only they can’t wield orbs of burning energy with their hands.

10 Facts about Real Witches:

1. While there are bad eggs, just as any person can be bad, witches are good, not evil.
2. Witches look like you and me. They don’t have warty faces, hook noses, or green skin.
3. There are soldiers in the U.S. military who are Wiccan.
4. Witches believe in harming none and never doing spells that will negatively impact others.
5. The Wiccan New Year is Samhain (Halloween).
6. Witches don’t dress up in silly or scary costumes on Halloween. Many believe dressing up is an affirmation and wear costumes to represent what they wish to be and accomplish for the New Year.
7. Witches only use wands to direct energy.
8. Not all witches are in a coven. Many are solitary practitioners.
9. Witches cast spells to manifest something they need or desire. This could be for protection, health, luck, courage, or love.
10. Not all witches are Wiccan and not all who follow the Wiccan religion are witches.

Title: Witch of Death
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense
Format: eBook Only
Page Count: 45 (short story)
Release Date: May 20th, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:

Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.


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Blurb:

Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can...by stalking the lead detective on the case.

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

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BIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 


Author Links: 
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Thank you all for visiting and hopefully commenting. ;) 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Blood Isle/Calasade Blog Tour - Mark Stone

Today I welcome author Mark Stone to my blog to talk a little about himself and his new book, Blood Isle.
Blood-Isle-Illustrated-Novel-Calasade-Series
Blood Isle: Calasade Series virtual book tour featured by Happy Geek Media
Hello, Dear Reader.

You’ll have to excuse me if what you read comes off as odd. I’ve never before done a guest post.

Mmm, what to write?

That’s always the question for us authors, most anyway, though a lucky few don’t actually think of ideas; they just seem to magically come to us, delivered by some transcendent and invisible hand that reaches down deep inside and pulls out tales worthy of your time.

Perhaps spiritually is a better way of putting this type of writing process, for that’s how writing is to me—a divine experience, a dual existence in which my physical presence presides here on Mother Earth while my essence is alive and well within the borders of Calasade, the Greco-Roman Fantasy world wherein most of my stories take place. That world often seems more real to me than this, which it should when you consider I spend most of my time in that mystical, passionate place dark and gritty and lovely and horrifying and mystifying.

Calasade is everything that life should be. Or perhaps it is everything that life was in the time of Ancient Rome with the paranormal thrown in for good measure. I hope I have developed Calasade in such a way that it becomes as real to you as it is to me, that you are as equally fascinated by its past, present, and potential future.

Something I would like to note before signing off on this rambling: I am an Independent Author. I could have had the publishing contract; in fact, I did, but it soon became apparent to me that I would have to sacrifice my vision if I went the traditional route. That was something I could not do and subsequently got out of my contract.

You see, I refuse to compromise on Calasade, on either its beauty or ugliness. The publishing company wanted me to tame certain aspects and go in a direction that wasn’t true to the people of Calasade. That is not to say publishing companies are evil. Gatekeepers are in fact sorely needed. All one has to do is look over the state of Indie publishing to know gatekeepers losing control over what populates bookshelves also meant the loss of certain standards of quality. There are (sadly) countless examples of amateur attempts consisting of poorly formatted and grossly unedited books, badly penned stories by authors who care only for making money and nothing for their craft, and covers so horrendous, they make you want to scratch out your eyes.

My books are none of those things (something I hope the art included with this post proves). My intent is to offer a product that equals if not surpasses those of the big publishers. More important to me than making a quick buck for minimal effort is pride and I strive above all else to be proud of Calasade.

The art is from Calasade: Blood Isle, an illustrated Fantasy Romance. Blood isle is available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. It is also at Barnes & Noble for Nook and (for most other reading devices) at Smashwords. Blood isle is about a broken man addicted to drink and gambling who gets a final chance of redemption when he is tasked with rescuing a kidnapped slave girl.

Sincerely,

Mark Stone

Blood Isle, Calasade Series
by Mark Stone
Genres: Greco-Roman, Illustrated, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Mythology, Romance
248 Pages
Release date: May 18, 2015
Calasade is a Greco-Roman Fantasy world that was in development for over five years. The world of Calasade has enough in common with Ancient Rome and borrows enough from Greek and Roman mythology that it will seem familiar, but also offers plenty of its own lore so that it is something new and different, the latter especially true when the world of Calasade and its tales are compared to fantasy taking place in worlds based on Medieval Europe.
A love of fantasy tropes intertwined with the unique helped bring Calasade and Blood Isle to fruition. You will find neither the knight in shining armor nor the never-do-good evil sorcerer.
The people of Calasade in Blood Isle are not so different than us in that they belong squarely inside the gray box of existence. As such, each and every one is capable of heroic acts one moment and dark ones the next depending on what's at stake and the means available for acquiring their goals.
Blood Isle is an illustrated novel. While part of a series, it is like all Calasade stories and can be read as a stand-alone. Thank you for taking the time to check out Calasade: Blood Isle.

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Follow the Blood Isle Tour here

May 18th: Happy Geek Media Launch/Unique Excerpt/Illustration
May 19th Wren Michael's Blog Spotlight/Illustration/Playlist
May 20th Flight of the Dragon Character Profile/Illustration/Unique Excerpt
May 21st Ivy Trellis Books Review & Illustration
May 22nd Photography, Poetry & Indie Authors Illustration & Playlist
May 25th DRC Promotions Unique Excerpt & Illustration
May 26th Tasha's Thinkings Guest Post
May 27th The Writer's Journey Author Q&A & Illustration
May 28th Desafio in the City Unique Excerpt & Illustration
May 29th KP's Cafe Review/Playlist/Illustration
May 30th Happy Geek Media Review & the Works

author_mark_stone-blood-isle
Author Mark Stone of Blood Isle
and the Calasade series
Mark Stone splits his time between the United States and Spain with his greatest inspiration, his wife. Having written award-winning Flash Fiction, he is now a novelist writing tales mostly of Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery. He will sometimes get a wild hair and venture into other areas—namely, Weird Western and Historical Fiction. Look for the latter in the near future. Most of his stories are based in Calasade, a fantasy world heavily influenced by Ancient Rome.

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Blood Isle: Calasade Tour hosted by...
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Happy Geek Media Blood Isle Virtual Tour

Monday, 25 May 2015

Monster Mondays #4 - The Thing


Hello and welcome this sunny Monday to Monster Mondays #4. Thank you to everyone who is joining in, be it with comments or posts, I love you all :).
Monster Mondays posts may be fiction, film reviews, book reviews or me waxing lyrical about a particular monster. Monsters can be paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy or even simply human. So basically, anything monster goes. I also invite anyone who would like to, to join in with their own post. (See end for details).
The Thing

So this week I am going for an alien monster. This creature from the depths of space is a monster that has stuck with me since the moment I first saw it and still haunts me to this day, it is John Carpenter's The Thing. No matter how many times I see this movie it still creeps me out. The first time I saw it, it had me hiding behind a cushion.

For those who have not seen it, the Thing is an alien, dug up by Norwegian scientists in the Antartic. It had been in the permafrost for thousands of years, but when they thaw it out it is still alive and attacks them. The big problem with this beastie is that is can take on and mimic whatever it attacks and absorbs.

In the original 1982 film we come in where what is left of the Norwegian party is chasing a dog through the snow towards an American outpost. The dog is not what it seems and ends up like this:

The Thing then proceeds to absorb one crew member after another while  Mac (Kurt Russel) does his best to try and stop it.

The reason I find this such a wonderful monster is how insidious it is. At first the team don't even realise there is a problem and the dog is there for ages before it transforms and it has already assimilated another member of the group by then. Just by looking it is impossible to tell who is the Thing and who is simply human.

It is also utterly disgusting, which is a good start with a monster. While it is assimilating and transforming it is horrid and slimy and goopy and all things that an evil alien should be. The part of the original film that will always stay with me no matter what is what many people refer to as the spider head.

One of the really dangerous facts about The Thing is that every cell is an organism of it's own. Shoot it and nothing happens, stab it, nothing happens - the only thing that can kill it is fire. Hence when it is discovered, not all parts have to act as one. During the movie one crew member it discovered and in defence his head separates.

At first it uses an extra long tongue to move around, but then it adapts even more:
It grows legs and eye stalks and runs away.

This creeped me out beyond belief when I first saw it and it still makes me shiver now :). This is why I think The Thing is a superb monster.

I have also seen the 2011 prequel The Thing as well and although it was okay, I found it much less engaging than the original. Maybe it was simply that I knew all the rules already and so I was expecting everything.

Have you seen The Thing? Does it creep you out? Which is your favourite part? If you haven't seen it, had my post about it managed to raise any goosebumps? ;)

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Prophet of the Badlands Tour - Matthew Cox - Sentimental Attachments to Your Characters

Today I have the cheerful duty of welcoming fellow author Matthew Cox to my blog to talk about his new book Prophet of the Badlands and his sentimental attachment to his characters. Please show him some love and while your at it, enter the giveaway.

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Sentimental attachments to your characters by Matthew Cox 
Prophet of the Badlands Guest Post

I think all writers form varying degrees of attachment to their characters. I’ve seen some posts by other authors agonizing over if they should kill off a character or let him live. (Granted, I’ve also read chats/post where authors ramble on with glee about how awful an upcoming death / assault / badness is going to be.)

For me, I do think I develop a strong sentimental attachment to certain characters. The deeper I get into their head, the more I feel them, the faster my writing process tends to go. Prophet was a drafting speed record for almost two years. The rough draft was 126,000 some odd words that I completed in about 13 days. I had the idea for the Awakened series and the Division Zero series at the same time and spent a good month trying to figure out which one I wanted to write first. I wound up going with Division Zero book one first. The whole time I was writing, it felt like Althea (the main character of Prophet) was standing behind me, arms crossed and tapping her foot, in a sort of an ‘are we there yet’ tone.

When I got Division Zero to a point where I thought it was ready to query, I (as all the advice givers say) kept writing while waiting on replies. Althea was more than happy to leap out of my head onto the page. About 60 ish percent of the way through the story, the outline called for something to happen, but Althea was having none of it. I hadn’t anticipated she would develop such a strong emotional connection to another character when I started off, and (perhaps this is the sentimental attachment showing) I couldn’t ignore Althea’s demand to change things. This adjustment made some rather pronounced alterations to the remainder of the story of Prophet as well as the story throughout the rest of the Awakened series.

I said Prophet used to hold the record… The Summer the World Ended, my second young adult novel, took me eight days to draft at an original length of 85,000 words. It took me a few weeks to get the storyline put together in the outline first, but once I started writing… it was all-consuming. By the time I finished writing it, Riley (the main character) felt like a real person.

While I didn’t write it quite as fast, Caller 107 also had a strong sentimental connection to the main character. Unlike Riley, Natalie isn’t always supposed to be likeable. She starts off a bit of a pill, but as the story progresses the true person inside comes out. Her initial state is a byproduct of being unable to handle her parents’ bitter divorce and making a whole bunch of stupid decisions. The story for Caller 107 came to me as a strange, creepy, and vivid dream from Natalie’s POV. At the time, I wasn’t writing seriously, but for whatever reason, I felt compelled to write down the story as soon as I woke up before I lost it. Dreaming it was pretty damn close to living it, so that made for a strong sentimental link to her.

Even minor characters sometimes, like one I’m thinking of from Virtual Immortality, come to mind. He dies, and he doesn’t really get all that much ‘screen time,’ but I felt horrible for killing him off even though the story called for it.

So, yep… I’d have to say I do get sentimentally attached to my characters. (Hopefully the readers do, too.)
Prophet of the Badlands , The Awakened (#1)
by Matthew S. Cox
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Genres: Adult, Cyberpunk, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Release date: April 26, 2015
For most twelve year olds, being kidnapped is terrifying. For Althea, it’s just Tuesday.
Her power to heal the wounded and cleanse the sick makes her a hunted commodity in the Badlands, a place devoid of technology where the strong write the law in blood. For as long as she can remember, they always come, they always take her, and she lets them. Passed around in an endless series of abductions, she obeys without question―mending those who killed to own her.
After three whole months in the same village, the affection of a young warrior makes her feel almost like a member of the tribe rather than a captive. Her brief joy shatters when raiders seize her yet again; for the first time in six years, being stolen hurts.
A reluctant escape sends her wandering, and she realizes her gift is a prize that causes as much death as it prevents. Her attempt to return to the tribe leaves her lost and alone, hounded at every turn. When a family who sees her not as the Prophet―but as a little girl―takes her in, she finds the courage to use her power to protect those she loves.
A strange man from a world beyond her imagining tests her newfound resolve, seeking to use her power to further his own agenda. Tired of being property, her freedom boils down to one question: Can Althea balance the sanctity with which she holds all life against the miserable truth that some people deserve to die?

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Author-Matthew-Cox
Author Matthew S. Cox
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place.


Hobbies and Interests: 

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. 

He is also fond of cats.

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Happy Geek Media Prophet of the Badlands Virtual Tour

Friday, 22 May 2015

Eurovision!!!!

So, who's looking forward to Eurovision tomorrow?

I AM :)

For those who are unfamiliar with this annual tradition when Europe goes completely mental - this is a music competition when Europe sends "their best talents" to compete and win the honour of hosting the contest the next year.

This year the contest had been running for 60 years!

Okay, so sometimes the performers in the past haven't been the greatest, but they always mean well.

Over the last few years I think the standard has been incredibly high. There were only three songs I simply could not listen to this year :).

Once upon a time there was just the one contest, now there are so many countries entered they have to have semi-finals, so I've already watched those this week. Rob is very sad because his favourite did not make it to the finals - he was rather hypnotised by the young lady in the skimpy cop's outfit dancing for Moldova.

I'm a little disappointed though, there don't seem to be any completely out there acts this year :(. No opera vampire dubstep like 2013 - I love his voice:

Some other highlights over the years: Dita Von Teese on stage for Germany in 2009; Ukraine's Verka Serduchka, drag queen in silver 2007; Lordi winning for Finland in 2006 with Hard Rock Hallelujah and there are so many more ;).

We do have Conchita in the green room though - she's doing all the interviews :). Conchita won last year for Austria singing Rise Like A Pheonix and she is awesome - yes, she does have a beard and an amazing voice:


If you would like to know more about Conchita and why she was created, visit her website and her new album is available from Amazon and iTunes.

Conchita stands for respect for all and diversity and inclusion and dignity and so does Eurovision (well, okay, occasionally not dignity ;)) - Pride is alive and well at Eurovision.

All the acts have videos of their songs up at the Eurovision Youtube channel (linked on the Eurovision site), as well as their performances so far. Looking at the videos my fav was the following one, Unbroken by Maria Olafs from Iceland, but she was a little too nervous at her semi and didn't make the final:

My fav from the semi's is this one from Sweden, Heroes by Måns Zelmerlöw, which I found unimpressive recorded, but live he's amazing - I think he's one of the favourites which probably means he'll get nowhere, but he was very impressive:

I even like out song this year :) - that makes a nice change. It's called Still In Love With You by Electro Velvet and it's very bouncy. We haven't got a hope since we're going 5th in the running order and half of Europe hate us, but it's a superb song and I will not have anything said against it.

The Eurovision Youtube Channel has just about everything - so check it out :) I must remember to order my copy of the DVD.

Do you watch Eurovision? Do you even know what I'm talking about? Do you fancy watching Eurovision now I've rambled about it?

Monday, 18 May 2015

Monster Monday #3 - K'Immies (Highlander)


Good morning, I hope everyone is well this grey Monday. Welcome to week 3 of Monster Mondays.
Monster Mondays posts may be fiction, film reviews, book reviews or me waxing lyrical about a particular monster. Monsters can be paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy or even simply human. So basically, anything monster goes. I also invite anyone who would like to, to join in with their own post. (See end for details).
K'Immies

So for today I was hit by nostalgia while watching an episode of Highlander: The Raven so I have gone with monsters who are men and women, but with a little something extra to help on their psychoses. KImmies are evil Immortals, so called because so many of their names have a 'K' or a hard 'C' sound. In the Highlander universe there are beings called Immortals who live, hidden among humans, and play The Game. Their ultimate rule is 'There can be only one' and they kill each other by taking their opponents head, thus gaining their power in the Quickening. The last one left will eventually gain The Prize, but none of them really know what that is. Some Immortals take to The Game much better than others, enjoying the killing, these are the K'Immies.

I assume the tradition started on day one with the original evil Immortal himself, the great Krugan, as portrayed by Clancy Brown.
In the images we have him in his historical getup and then his delightful modern twist. In the film of Highlander he is the big bad, Connor MacLeod's arch Nemesis, an Immortal brought up by the infamous tribe, the Kurgans, to be brutal and to believe only the strong survive and win. He is a man out of time, only adapting to the most brutish of modern ways, killing by whim, taking anything he wants and being generally monstrous.

You could simply argue he is nothing more than a result of his upbringing, but plenty of other immortals overcame their prejudices and beliefs to become perfectly rounded individual. Hence I firmly believe Kurgan counts as a monster.

My second monstrous K'Immie is Kalas (played by David Robb), who, as his name suggests it a heartless individual, wrapped up in seeking his own power.

Now, Kalas really has no excuse at all, brought up in Rome and becoming a respected citizen he had a good life, stable upbringing and a good mentor. He even pretended to help disillusioned Immortals fed up of the Game, setting up a sanctuary on holy ground for them (Immortals cannot kill on Holy ground). However, he then started killing them the moment they stepped off holy ground to gain their power. He's also a slippery bastard, getting away from Duncan MacLeod several times during Highlander: The Series.

Kalas is a monster because he hid behind the hand of friendship for a very long time, killing those who trusted him.

Now to my third and final K'Immie, one of the best: Kronos as played by Valentine Pelka.

With Kronos we have another psycho. He was the leader of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse during the bronze age, riding with three other Immortals, Methos, Silas and Caspian, pillaging and murdering their way across two continents.

Now, unlike the Kurgan, Kronos adapts well to new centuries and new technologies, taking advantage of them and hiding very well in plain sight. He hasn't grown much as a person, still feeling it is his right to take what he wants and taking it when the whim takes him, but he adapts to his times, making him very, very dangerous. He's very clever and can keep the Horsemen in line with his powerful personality.

He's such a bad guy that even after he's dead he gets to be the avatar of a demon, but the less said about that the better, because that's where Highlander: The Series lost the plot.

Valentine was so good as Kronos he also got to play another K'Immie in Highlander: The Raven - Andre Korda, but while he was good, Kronos was definitely better :).

Highlander fandom is where I cut my teeth on internet interaction (we had mailing lists) and it was where I met many, many of my current friends. The trip to Paris with all of us crammed into one car was most memorable :) as were the conventions.

Have you seen any of the incarnations of Highlander (I do feel sorry for you if it was any of the films apart from the first one ;))? Were you ever part of the fandom? Who is your favourite Immortal?


Monster Mondays #3 Links 

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