Today’s Featured Author – C.C. Aune

Today I welcome author C.C. Aune to my blog. Her debut novel, The Ill-Kept Oath, came out last September.

Excerpt

Josephine went to bed that night certain her bout with trances had passed—it had been days since her last wandering—and awakened to find herself standing in the dark at the edge of the Heywood. Mildly vertiginous, she threw her arms wide and discovered a pistol in each hand. How this was possible, she couldn’t guess; she had not seen them since Edward confiscated them a fortnight ago.

She cast a glance downward and found herself clad in the oversized jacket, boots, and breeches from her mother’s trunk. The shako perched cock-eyed atop her loose tumble of hair.

“Blast it, not again!

Voices rang in the distance. A twig snapped nearby, followed by animal-like snufflings. Stifling a whimper, Josephine wondered what she should do. Run? Back away slowly?

Her eyes flicked to the pistols. Small comfort, since they weren’t loaded.

Anyway, I haven’t the foggiest notion how to shoot the dratted things.

She raised her useless weapons and trained them on the woods. Another twig snapped—louder. Closer. She inched backward, heart racing, preparing to bolt for the house.

In an explosion of claws and unholy shrieks, a muscular beast plunged from the thicket. It skidded and wheeled on her, spitting and snarling. Josephine stood transfixed, staring in horror at the hellish figure. A blast of musk assaulted her senses, rousing her as swiftly as a sharp dose of salts. With a throaty cry, she squeezed the trigger of one pistol. The weapon discharged, belching fire and smoke. The beast stumbled, screaming, then regained its footing. Somehow she had shot it square in its left eye. The best cast about with its remaining orb, seeking revenge.

“Oh, help,” she whispered.

The beast’s roving eye fixed on the source of its pain. Through a fog of pure terror, Josephine perceived an intake of breath and gathering of muscles. It took a step toward her, nostrils twitching as it drew in her scent. Puttylike lips lifted, revealing its teeth, which were yellow and countless and lethally sharp. A long rope of saliva dangled from its mouth. Josephine watched, fascinated, as the mucus stretched downward, reached the point of release, and dropped to the ground with an audible plop.

She was so mesmerized by the repulsive details of the creature that she failed to notice it had crept nearer. Now she blinked and swallowed and found herself staring up at its chest. The thing sniffed her over, as if to assess her edibility. Its blown eye socket gaped dark and grisly; rivulets of ocular fluid had already begun to harden on its pelt. The odor it gave off—rotting flesh and old, rancid lard—staggered the senses.

Josephine comprehended that she was an instant from death.

The instinct to survive took over. Quick as lightning, she palmed the other pistol. Pressing the muzzle point-blank to the beast’s chest, she fired again.

Her weapon’s report rang out across the field, followed by a pause and a moan and a reassuring thump. Dogs barked, shouts grew nearer, footsteps pounded through the woods. Josephine bent over the corpse, trying to make sense of its alien features. In the faint starlight, she could see very little, but it was enough. This creature was unlike any animal in her knowledge. If she had no previously heard the soldiers’ musings about trolls, she would never have been able to identify the truth: this was a being of supernatural origins.

Someone’s hands closed over hers, and a voice said, low and firm, “I don’t think you want to be found here, my lady, especially like this.” It was Quimby. “May I have these?” he asked. Josephine nodded and gave the pistols up gladly. He tucked them into a pack, then undid his cloak and threw it over her shoulders.

Josephine was vaguely aware of the lieutenant fastening his cloak at her throat, and afterward bending to examine her face. “Are you hurt?” he murmured. She shook her head.

I killed something. I nearly died. Oh God, I nearly died! It took every ounce of her willpower not to stagger against him and shed relieved tears.

“I’m taking you home,” he said, nudging her away from the corpse. He hailed an approaching soldier. “I’ve dispatched the creature. Have the men burn it and scatter the remains. Oh—and will a crown help you forget who else was here?”

“Aye, sir!” The soldier caught the shining coin as it sailed through the air. His eyes flicked to Josephine before looking away.

Lieutenant Quimby resumed his pressure against the small of her back, propelling her toward Greenbank’s old mill and over the race. As they circled the pond, he said, “Well, then. Tell me how it is you came to kill my quarry in the middle of the night.”

Frightened and shocked as she was, Josephine thought he had some nerve. She snipped, “I’d rather not say. Besides, gentlemen don’t take credit for others’ achievements.”

Quimby chuckled. “Ladies don’t gad about in breeches firing guns. You ought to thank me, you know. You might make it back to bed before anyone realizes you’re gone.”

Josephine hadn’t time to be furious at his cheek. He had marched her up the lawn, and they were close to the house.

Quimby pointed toward a dark side-entry. “Here you are, madam. Good night.”

All of a sudden, the door burst open and Edward staggered out, shrugging a coat over his rumpled nightshirt and cradling a musket in one elbow. He spied them and goggled like one who has lost his mind. “Bloody hell!” he cried, lurching forward.

Quimby threw up an arm. “It’s not what you think! The men and I were conducting an exercise and inadvertently flushed our quarry into the path of Lady Weston.”

“I heard shots—”

“The beast was killed. No harm has been done.”

“No harm!” Edward turned on Josephine, his eyes ablaze with fury and concern. “Why in God’s name are you abroad late at night?”

Normally, she would have stood up for herself, but in this instance, Josephine had no ready retort. Shaking her head, she stepped backward into the officer’s sheltering stance.

Lieutenant Quimby interposed. “That very point, sir, I have already impressed. I’m sure Lady Weston is duly contrite.”

How could she be, for her actions had not entirely been willful? Regardless, Josephine murmured, “Thank you, Lieutenant. It shan’t happen again.” She brushed past the two men and darted inside. Upstairs, she changed clothes, hid Quimby’s cloak, and lay down on the bed. Visions of the slavering, one-eyed beast kept jolting her awake. There was no use trying to sleep, so she lit a candle and staggered to her desk.

“Oh help!” she scrawled.

Maybe now Prudence would finally believe her.

Book Blurb

Two cousins. A dark family secret. A looming rebellion.

In Regency England, a mysterious inheritance draws Prudence Fairfeather and Lady Josephine Weston out of candlelit ballrooms and into the shadows of insurrection.

A newcomer to London society, Prudence longs for the enchantment of love and instead finds real magic in her late mother’s ring. But power brings peril, and strange mishaps culminate in an assassin’s bullet. Ensnared by the web of a malevolent socialite, Prudence forsakes romance to fight for her freedom.

Josephine fears an eternity of confined country life until rampaging trolls, a gang of drunken vigilantes, and a flirtatious officer bring her all the adventure she craves. Compelled by birthright to take up arms, she embraces her newfound, unladylike abilities to shield her loved ones from harm.

As danger drives a wedge through their friendship, Josephine and Prudence must face their magical legacy and the enemy who will kill to control them.

About the Author

CC Aune’s ramblings have led her through 49 states—nine of which she has called home—plus a fair number of countries. She has been a journalist and a contributor for the companion book to PBS’s 2000 series In Search of Our Ancestors. Currently, she directs the blog One Year of Letters, which explores the internal landscape of writers. The Ill-Kept Oath is her debut novel.

You can find out more about C.C. on her blog or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

You can purchase The Ill-Kept Oath on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Today’s Featured Author – Adam Thielen

Please welcome author Adam Thielen to my blog. His debut novel, Visceral, came out in July. You can find it on Amazon. It is on Kindle Countdown as of today.

Interview

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I actually started writing before I was a teenager.  My first original story put to paper (well digital paper), was written as a Sophomore in high school.  I continued writing short stories through college, but then gave that up to attempt a novel.  It took several tries and over a decade of projects before finishing Visceral.  I don’t really consider myself a writer.  Maybe once I’m successful.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I don’t think I could write without doing some form of planning.  I at least have to write out a list of significant developments.  For Visceral, I wrote a list of events, even a few blurbs to remind myself what I was doing.  For my next project, I will be doing a more formal outline.  It’s no good getting halfway into a book and being unsure where to go next.  That being said, I wasn’t able to stick entirely to my list.  It had to evolve as I wrote what the characters would actually do in the situations presented.

Please tell us about your current release.

Visceral is a straightforward story with a large mix of supernatural and cyberpunk elements.  Most of the focus is on dialogue and action rather than narration or description.  There are four protagonists, each with a kind of specialty.  Circumstances bring them together, and what starts as a somewhat simple job turns into a fight against multiple adversaries.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m a big fan of cyberpunk, especially in the gaming world.  I also wanted to contribute to vampire fiction something closer to the comic book and movie character “Blade” to counter all the “Edwards”.  Those familiar with role-playing video and tabletop games will see a lot of familiar themes.

How did you come up with the title?

Visceral is how I want the scenes to be conveyed to the reader.  Some are violent, some a bit gory.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I had to do a little information technology research, but that’s been my day job for a long time.  What I really needed to research was the Old West.  I made several errors in my initial draft with how I treated the region depicted around the year 1900.  You get used to a lot of cliches from Westerns, and if you look into the actual history, you find that much of the United States did not fit those molds.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

No.  However, most character traits, expressions, and voice were pieced together from experiences with others.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

Tamra.  She’s black, she’s a woman, and she’s a badass.  But not like a Chuck Norris badass.  She doesn’t shoot the wings off of a fly, or flip kick anyone (sorry), but she’s confident, competent, smart, and willing to do what is needed.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

Confession: I had to Google ‘black moment writing’.  As soon as I read it, I knew what it meant.  It’s sort of a cliché in movies and TV, and I try to avoid using it.   There are times of peril though.  Early in the story, one of the characters calls it quits and it seems like the band is breaking up.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

I’m working on a prequel novella that will feature two of the vampires twenty years prior to the events in Visceral.  It’s going to be more exposition and brooding noir, and a little less action and blood.  I hope after that to write a sequel to Visceral taking place twenty years after it that will be written in a similar style as the world continues to evolve.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

There are scenes where Taq, a powerful mage, enters the Ethereal plane, a place that is much different than the physical world, and it was difficult to describe it in a way that was effective and clear.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

Taq is the mage, and I’m always the mage. I want magical or super powers.  It’s the type of character I always choose when playing a game, and most of my stories feature a magic user of some type.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Foundation’s world created by Isaac Asimov.  Space travel, robots, mental powers, what is not to love?

Book Blurb

visceralWhen the vampire council sends its enforcer Matthias to investigate a suspicious young nightstalker, he discovers that her attempts to turn a human mage have resulted in a deadly fiend.

With time working against him, Matthias seeks help from a talented but reckless young mage and a mysterious neuro with her own agenda. But the more they discover about the fiend, the more they threaten to unearth secrets that the powerful will kill to keep buried.

Enter a world transformed by a great economic collapse into a corporatocracy governed by executives, their boards, and appointed councils. A world where man has learned to exploit the ethereal plane to subjugate the laws of nature. Where vampires have emerged to carve a place within civilization. A world ripe for the taking by those with the right resources.

Visceral is a dark and gritty delve into a cyberpunk world that does not give you a chance to catch your breath. Filled with action, dark satire, and occasional humor, Visceral is a fast-paced urban fantasy taking place in the near future, present day, and even the old west. With a climax both satisfying and appalling, this urban fantasy jaunt will sate your lust for blood.

About the Author

adamAdam Thielen was born and raised in a dusty Kansas town. He started writing at an early age, and would finish his first novel two decades later.  His writing is inspired by movies, television, tabletop games, and video games. He holds a degree in Philosophy and earns a living in the IT field.

You can purchase Visceral on Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Ciara Gold

Please welcome author Ciara Gold to my blog.  Her book, The Rose Hunter, came out last month.

Interview

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I bring a lot of myself into my books. I think the more experiences you have as a person, the more you can bring to your creativity. I teach art in addition to writing and I tell this to my students all the time. How can they not bring their experiences and feelings to the canvas? As for me, I’ve been blessed with a rich upbringing (and I’m not talking money rich but experience rich). I took ballet, tap, piano, voice and art lessons in my youth. I was a girl scout for over twelve years and a candy striper for three. In Eliza’s Copper Penny, in one scene, I have her cleaning a lantern with newspaper. Back when I went to camp, we had to maintain the kerosene lanterns by cleaning the soot off the glass globe and trimming the wick. I think it’s the little things like these that paint a scene more vividly.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

When I work on a project, I usually have three others in the works. I multi-task a lot. At present, I have two historical westerns, one paranormal fantasy and a Christmas story in the works. Of the four, I’ll probably finish the historical western first as I have more done on it.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Just start writing. I get bored easily and if I outlined, I’d know the ending before I’ve written the book. There’s no fun in that. I pride myself on plots that don’t follow the norm so I tend to write myself into corners a lot and then figure out how to get my characters out of the situation. Oh yeah, I write romance so there’s always an HEA, but other than that, I try real hard to give the reader something fresh and new with each story.

Please tell us about your current release.

I would love to. The Rose Hunter is the second book in a series of books I plan to write. In the first book, The Keeper of Moon Haven, I created an alternative realm for the fae to safely reside, but whenever there’s a blue moon in October, this alternative realm is accessible to humans for one month’s time. In The Rose Hunter, my heroine, an elfin witch, is sent on a mission to recover a stolen artifact. She will have to journey to the human realm to find it and of course must rely on help from a human hero.

What inspired you to write this book?

I truly don’t know. Since I write from the hip, I basically just started writing. With the first book, once I figured out I wanted something centered around the blue moon, the idea for the faery realm came to mind. I then became very excited to have a series of books that would all be different and yet connected by this idea. For the most part, a blue moon in October occurs every nineteen years. Not always, but more often than not so all the books would give me an opportunity to investigate other time periods and part of the fun of writing historical is the research involved.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I bought several books on the Templar Knights and did quite a bit of research on possible locations for the story. The Castle Hamingjur is a fictional castle set close to the Mendip Hills and Glastonbury as there is so much magical history associated with this area.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

The Rose Hunter is the second book in a series of unlimited books I’m hoping to write. I have started work on a third and fourth book. The third will be set in 1213 AD and 1251 AD and will basically be Lyerra’s parent’s story. I’ve only written a chapter so I can’t tell you too much more. The fourth I started combines a historical western with the faery realm and involves a leprechaun who has spent the better part of his youth in the human realm. He longs to return but the fates have placed him in America, a long way off from Hamingjur and the portal home.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

What a fun question. I love all my characters, but I think the one that resonates with me most is Eliza from Eliza’s Copper Penny. I loosely based her character off my grandmother who died a month short of her 101st birthday. She taught school in rural Texas in a one-room building.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

We just bought property in the country that came with a cabin shell that we finished out to make an office and small kitchen. It’s my “she-shed” and I love it. Right now, that’s the best place to write. It’s quiet, secluded and has a warm, inviting feel.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

I actually have two. The first is Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss because it was the very first romance I read and it was the book that turned me on to reading. Prior I hated reading but I think it was because of my eyes. Reading gave me headaches and I never found a genre I enjoyed enough to put up with the discomfort. I know. Strange that an author would dislike reading, eh? I was nineteen when I actually fell in love with romance and at the time, I would read at least 4 books a week. My second all time favorite is Coulter’s Wife by Joan Johnston. Historical westerns are my comfort read when I need a pick-me-up.

Book Blurb

TheRoseHunter-200x300Lucian Willshire is plagued by thoughts of a fey world and the disappearance of his aunt some nineteen years past, but when his friend drags him back to Hamingjur Castle, he stumbles into Alfheim Haven once more where mystical beings become more than a distant memory.

Lyerra Ahdia is baffled by the sudden emotional changes she’s experiencing until she discovers she’s the only witch to suffer “the change” since her mother stole the Rose, a special talisman with the power to perpetuate life among those in her coven. Tasked with finding and bringing the Rose home, she begs Lucian’s help in navigating the human realm. Against his better judgement, he agrees.

Though neither set out to find anything except the Rose, fate has other plans. Will love be more elusive than hunting the Rose?

About the Author

Ciara Gold didn’t realize she was a writer until about ten years ago even though the signs had been in place since fourth grade. Luckily for readers, her muse took a skillet to her head and made her realize her true calling. She’s been delighting fans with her romantic journeys into the past and the future. Texas born and bred, she makes her home with a loving husband and Newt, the cat.

You can find out more about Ciara on her blog or her website. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Rose Hunter on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the Kobo store.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Featured Author – Eric Drouant

Today, I welcome author Eric Drouant to my blog to talk about Remote, his suspense thriller series.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I work for a large company in the defense industry. I guess the most notable aspect of that career has been time spent in Iraq and Afghanistan and plenty of travel to places I never imagined seeing.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I’m a Louisiana boy, born in Baton Rouge and raised in New Orleans. I currently live just north of the Crescent City along with a pack of kids and an even bigger pack of grandchildren.

What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

The best advice I’ve ever heard is to just sit down and start writing. Write anything. It might be good or it might be crap, but you can always toss it or revise it. If you don’t do something, you have nothing. I don’t know about any bad advice. I believe you just have to find something that works for you.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

This is strange but in one of my short stories I found an incredibly original way to kill a character, which is tough to do. I was proud of that. The worst part, for me, is editing and re-writing.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

Most of my books have begun with only the vaguest idea of what I want to do. As I move further and further into it, I’ll begin to map out a few ideas. These sometimes come to fruition and sometimes fall by the wayside.

Please tell us about your current release.

Right now, I have a three book series titled REMOTE. The first book, ORIGINS, relates the story of their discovery by a government agency and their struggle to escape being imprisoned and used as a weapon in the Cold War. FATAL, the second in the series, becomes a little more personal, but again the characters are faced with tough situations. The ending of this book caught both myself and some readers by surprise. ARTIST is the third in the series and sets the tone for further books by placing Cassie Reynold, the main focus of the first two books, into an entirely new set of circumstances in her life.

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

The biggest surprise to me was the emergence of Cassie Reynold as the focus of the book. The original concept involved her boyfriend, Ronnie Gilmore, as the main character. As I moved through the writing, Cassie became simply overpowering and grabbed the lead without any help on my part.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I write where I can, which is usually at my kitchen table or in a hotel room on the road. If I could pick any place in the world to write, it would be in a small hotel room in Le Havre, France. Large parts of ARTIST were written t here and that location is the place I’ve been most productive. I don’t know what it is but I would go back there in a minute and I know the words would pour out again.

Book Blurb

Origins_Ebook1When CIA operatives discover that teens Cassie Reynold and Ronnie Gilmore possess uncanny psychic abilities, their seemingly normal existence is catapulted into a world of espionage,mayhem, and cold blooded murder.

Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, these two high-value targets are marked as prey for renegade agent Thorne. Capturing them will cement his position within a clandestine world, rife with danger at every turn.

The year is 1973 and the world has changed. The government is on edge, no one more so than rogue CIA operative Thorne. After discovering the pair of New Orleans teenagers and their paranormal abilities, he is determined to capture them and use them to further his own cause, but doing so will not come easily, especially when the pursuit unleashes the deadliest instinct of Cassie Reynold.

About the Author

Eric Drouant lives in Slidell, La just north of New Orleans. Born and raised in the deep south, the author spends a considerable amount of time on the road. His work has taken him to Iraq, Afghanistan, South America, and several European countries. A lifetime of reading led him to newspaper work, web content writing, and finally, a plunge into fiction.

You can buy Origins and the rest of the Remote series on Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author: Loren Weaver

Today, please welcome fantasy author Loren Weaver to my blog. She shares a little bit about the creation of her Victoria Novak: Paranormal Division series. The second book, Archangel’s Salvation, was released in August.

Interview

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Texas, but I call Georgia home. Currently, I’m living abroad in Ecuador while working in both Ecuador and Brazil.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I started writing when I was eleven, and I’ve never gone back. I always loved reading, and I wanted to be a part of bringing that escape to others. So, I guess you could say that I was inspired by hundreds of other authors bring life to their stories.

Please tell us about your current release.

I just released my novel Archangel’s Salvation, which is the second book in my Victoria Novak: Paranormal Division series. The first one is called Havoc’s Cry. The series follows Tori on her adventures as an agent for the FBI’s paranormal branch. Books three and four are already in the works and should release late 2014 and early 2015.

How did you come up with the title? 

My titles are based on Shakespeare quotes, actually. For example, Havoc’s Cry is from the quote “Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war” which has a double meaning since my main character is best friends with a werewolf!

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

I don’t ever base characters on real people, because then I’d feel bad when terrible things happened to them. Which they almost always do in my books. Strangely enough, one of my good friends has the same name as one of the characters, but I had already written the character before my friend came into the picture!

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

I came up with the ending towards the beginning of my plot outline, although some of the relevant players changed from the original idea. I had to separate the original idea into the first three books, since it was too much for one!

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write? 

I work in the field, so I can’t ever be in one place to write! For me, if I have a laptop, I’m able to write. I don’t even need internet to keep me entertained in my story land! But if I get a choice, I always like a good view for inspiration.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I’m a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a Master SCUBA Diver, and it’s my dream to set foot on all seven continents before I die.

Book Description

2 Archangel's Salvation frontVictoria Novak, infamous Sorceress and Federal Paranormal Division Special Agent, just got a call from the police about four bloodless corpses. Now it’s time to investigate.

When she goes to the Coven Master for help, he gives her a vampire liaison. Gabriel, a 400 year old vampire with angel’s wings painted on his face, is violence on a leash. Tori and the team chase leads back to the new club Transylvanian Travesty, owned by a vampire that makes Tori weak with his power. But is he really involved in the killings?

A new vampire murder, paranormal politics, and police work. All in a normal day. But now, Gabriel’s ready to be free, and Tori may be the only way to ensure Archangel’s Salvation.

About the Author 

LorenLoren Weaver is an engineer for an oil company as her day job. She loves crazy sports and has her black belt in Tae Kwon Do, master SCUBA diver certificate, and motorcycle license. Although engineering pays the rent, she writes because she loves to hear and to tell a good story.

You can find out more about Loren and her writing on her website.

You can purchase Archangel’s Salvation on Amazon.