Monday, November 18, 2013

The Key by Jennifer Anne Davis Release Day!

It's Here! It's Here, It's Finally Here! 

We weren't sure if this day would truly come. After a release day debacle, The Key is finally live on Amazon for the Kindle! Please help support this amazing and patient author by checking out her book. We promise, this book is totally worth the wait. Kingdoms, castles, princes who battle each other for a beautiful commoner, lies, deceit, betrayal, and a climatic ending that will leave you breathless! 
This is a must read! 

THE KEY by Jennifer Anne Davis

Release Date: November 18, 2013
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Young Adult - Fantasy



Within these pages lie kingdoms with castles and princes who fall in love with fair maidens, but make no mistake−this is no fairytale. 

His father's kingdom is on the brink of upheaval and at the center of it all is an ordinary girl who could be the key to its undoing. When faced with the ultimate choice, will he choose the girl he's falling in love with or the kingdom he has sworn to protect?

An ordinary girl with an extraordinary past... All she wants is to be free. What she doesn't realize is that freedom comes with a price she can't afford to pay. She's forced to accept the proposal of a prince she despises, even though her heart belongs to someone else... his brother.

Seventeen-year-old Rema lives in a brutal kingdom where travel between regions is forbidden, people are starving, and looking at someone the wrong way can mean death. Nineteen-year-old Darmik is the king’s son and Commander of the King’s Army. He spends his days roving the island, doing his father’s bidding and trying to maintain control over the people.

When a chance encounter throws Rema and Darmik together, they share an instantaneous connection, but any sort of relationship between them is strictly forbidden. Darmik’s brother, the Crown Prince, notices Darmik’s interest in Rema and, in a calculated, political move, blackmails her. Faced with an impossible choice, Rema is forced to sacrifice her heart in order to save her family. 

As Rema is taken to the palace with the Crown Prince, Darmik confronts the growing rumor that a legitimate blood heir to the throne exists and is trying to overthrow Darmik’s family. In Darmik’s quest to hunt down and kill the threat, he discovers that nothing is as it seems. Locked in the king’s castle, Rema finds herself a key player in a massive power struggle. When Darmik shows up, she’s not sure if she can trust him. The line between friends, enemies, and loyalty becomes blurred. As truths are unlocked, Rema understands that she just might be the key to finding the rightful heir and restoring peace to the kingdom… if she can manage to stay alive long enough.

Excerpt From: THE KEY


Rema politely curtsied. Prince Lennek stepped forward, closing the distance between them. The music started and he placed his hands on her, expertly gliding her around the dance floor. At first Rema was afraid she would trip over her own feet and fall, embarrassing herself and probably meeting everyone’s expectations, but she didn’t. Surprise washed through her, especially since she hadn’t danced with anyone other than her aunt and uncle. But Lennek was dancing a basic four-step foot pattern of which she was well acquainted.

“We haven’t properly met,” Prince Lennek commented. His voice was soft and smooth, like butter. She had the urge to reach out and caress his handsome face. He looked very much like his brother, Prince Darmik. Even Prince Lennek’s tattoo was similar to his brother’s, although Lennek’s black swirls appeared more like knives than flames, especially when the light shone on the silver in the marks. Rema forced herself to focus on the prince’s face, instead of his body.

“No, we haven’t met, Your Highness,” Rema said sarcastically, wanting to stand her ground. She wouldn’t allow him to see the slightest amount of infatuation or intimidation on her part. “So I find it rather interesting that you would summon me here. You are aware that I am engaged to be married?” 

He twirled Rema around and pulled her back to him, his eyes sparkling with amusement. Rema felt everyone watching and appraising her. She tried to focus on the dance and Lennek, not allowing the people’s silent judgments to overwhelm her thoughts. 

“I am Prince Lennek and you are Rema, the local horse merchant’s niece.” His voice was seductive. “And yes, you are currently engaged.” His head bent forward, his lips only inches from her ear. “But things can change. Nothing is set in stone,” he whispered.

She wasn’t sure what he was implying. Did he know she secretly didn’t want to marry? His strong arm slid lower on her back. Rema stumbled, but Prince Lennek changed directions, keeping her upright. She quickly regained her footing, only missing one beat.

“Who taught you to dance?” he pleasantly asked.

Her thoughts refocused on Lennek. “My aunt.”

“Interesting. Most people in the merchant class do not know the dances of the upper class—especially dances done with royalty.” His eyes held a questioning look, awaiting her answer.  

“We are dancing ‘The Courting Dance,’” Rema replied. “It was so named because it is only danced at court, also because it is usually done when a member of the royal family has decided to court someone. It reveals his intentions to his court.”

Lennek’s eyebrows lifted up, surprised. “Why do you know the dance, then?” he inquired.

Was he insulting her? Before she could think her response through, she said, “Perhaps my aunt thought such a beautiful dance shouldn’t be wasted on a select group of people who truly can’t appreciate it.” She smiled sweetly.

“Do you have an answer to everything?” he asked, amused.

“Usually,” she replied, holding her head high.

Prince Lennek laughed and twirled her around again. This time, he pulled her in a little closer. Rema’s chest touched his. His warm hand held her tight. Without meaning to, she glanced up into his eyes. There was something hypnotic about them, and she was unable to look away. 

“I am so glad you wandered into my life.” Prince Lennek chuckled, like it was a private joke. “You are the key to everything.” 

The music ended and the prince glanced away from her, breaking the spell. She stepped back, about to return to her seat when Lennek grabbed her arm.

Shocked, Rema stared at him. His smile vanished. His eyes were cold, as if a mask had been ripped from his face. She tried to step away, but his grip only tightened.

“What do you want?” she whispered.

“You.”

It felt like spiders crawling over her skin. “You can’t have me,” she said.

His features softened. “Really? We’ll see.” He snickered, his mask of charm instantaneously back on and the harshness gone.

Prince Lennek motioned for his steward.

“Rema is leaving the party now.”

About Jennifer Anne Davis



Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she finally married her best friend and high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three young children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.

Visit Jennifer online at www.JenniferAnneDavis.com.



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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Interview: Jac Wright

Today I'm pleased to Welcome Jac Wright to the blog to tell us a little more about his new book, "The Reckless Engineer."

1. What was your inspiration for this book? 
The first thing I knew about The Reckless Engineer was that it was going to be a series and that I wanted the series lead to be an electrical engineer a little like me. Actually Jeremy is what I should like to be.  He lives the life I want and I live it through him.

Secondly I knew the primary setting was going to be the beautiful English seaside town, Portsmouth, the birthplace of Charles Dickens. This was because my mother loves Charles Dickens’ work and some of the earliest memories I have are of her reading Dickens to me before I could even read.  She had this rack full of books in the attic with classics like Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, The Old Curiosity Shop, David Copperfield, and other classics like Lorna Doone, Wuthering Heights, and The Animal Farm stuffed among piles of Readers’ Digests. I used to love spending hours up in the attic where I grew to love Dickens at an early age.

As for the plot, I wanted to write about the troubles of protagonist who is a brilliant guy, but whose character fault is that he is weak in love (like JFK for instance).  In the Reckless Engineer I hardly give my protagonist a voice; I quite deliberately keep him in custody for much of the book and mainly look at the effects of the affair from the perspectives of the people around him.  In The Closet, written as a prelude to The Reckless Engineer, on the other hand I am right inside my protagonist’s head, looking at the angst, the pain, and the ups and downs of his passionate love for his wife . . . telling the reader how it feels for him.  I had written The Closet first and I had been thinking of writing its complementary plot in which I give voices to those people around the affair for some time.  

I took the word “reckless” for the title from the word “reckless abandon” with which my protagonists are driven to act, blinded by romantic love, almost in spite of themselves.

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
I try to balance 4 factors which make the 4 cornerstones that hold up my writing: 
i. characters, 
ii. plot, 
iii. literary writing, and 
iv. the setting or world building, even though the world that I build for my characters is a little corner of contemporary England that we live in.  

Out of these four, characters are of primary importance to me, even though I do not ignore any of the other 3 aspects.  I put my characters in a situation and give them a particular psychology.  I then keep them true to that psychology and let them drive the story forward.  Sometimes they struggle against their psychological need because of the demands of the people around them or because of their own conscience.   So character creation is the most important aspect for me.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
When you are writing a series, things happen at two levels.  In the foreground you have the characters and the plot that make up the story in the particular book.  

In order to develop it as a series, however, you also have your characters that take the series forward.  In The Reckless Engineer these characters are Jeremy, Harry, Otter, Maggie, and Annie.  I develop these characters at a much slower pace in the background.  Since I have told you about Jack Connor in the other questions, let me tell you about my series lead, Jeremy Aiden Stone.

He is courageous with nerves of steel and he is a highly skilled and brilliant engineer like Barney Collier in the Mission Impossible TV series.  He is adventurous, versatile, and resourceful like MacGyver.  My father and I used to watch Mission Impossible, MacGyver, Perry Mason, and Tales of the Unexpected (based on Roald Dahl’s writing) from our favourite seats in the living room every week when I was a kid.  At one time I used to read Roald Dahl’s adult fiction and Earle Stanley Gardner like I was possessed.  These stories made a big impression on me.

Jeremy has a British father and an American mother who comes from the American religious right, but Jeremy has been educated at Stanford and Berkeley and is very liberal.  When it comes to bending rules to catch a bad guy he hesitates, but does what needs to be done anyway. 
Jeremy is an electrical engineer by profession, like my close friend and me.  Actually he is more like what I should like to be.  He lives the life I want and I live it through him.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 
Jac Connor is a brilliant engineer whose character fault is that he is weak in love.  That description is kind to him. To put it bluntly he is a bit of a playboy.  There are four beautiful, strong, and very different women whom he had been in relationships with at different times who pull him in different directions.  At the onset of the story one of them, Michelle Williams, is found dead and Jack Connor has been arrested for the murder.  The story begins with Jack making his one call from the police station to his old-time friend, our series lead Jeremy.  

Jeremy arrives in Portsmouth with Harry Stavers, top London attorney to the rich and famous, to handle Jack’s defence in the murder trial.  While harry runs a brilliant defence, Jeremy mixes in with Jack’s family and colleagues only to find out that all is not what it seems at first sight.  Everyone seems to have secrets and some of them have strong motives to have committed the crime.  While Harry mounts a strategic defence, Jeremy is determined to get to the truth even if that truth is not what he wants to hear.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 
I want them to be entertained above all else.  The question of who dunnit is one that the reader can solve himself because all the clues he needs are right there.  At the same time I want the readers to love some of the characters and hate a couple; feel conflicted about the others.


6. What song best describes your writing style?
Song?  Hmmm . . . “Something Got Me Started” by Simply Red?  

When it comes to the initial idea for a story I don’t know where it comes from.  It comes to me from somewhere deep in my subconscious mind in a moment of inspiration, like a segment of a movie or a disjointed dream.  Something gets me started and then the idea nags at me until I put it down on paper.

Something got me started and now I love it; I can’t seem to stop.  I might even give it all up for writing even though I hope I don’t have to.

7. Night Owl or Early Bird?
Early bird.  I can write very well in the early hours of the morning when the world is quiet, from about 4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m., but I then go back to bed and catch  a couple of hours of sleep before I have to get up and go for my engineering work.


8. Skittle or M&Ms?
M&Ms.   That’s the original one, right?  I don’t particularly like copies, of anything.

9. Who are your favorite authors?
I hero-worship Patricia Highsmith.  She is one writer who does amazingly well with all four aspects of suspense writing that I value – characters, plot, literary prose, and the setting or world building – with primacy given to characters.  Her POV is perfect.  Her books are a master class in compelling character creation.  She is firmly based in Virginia Woolf’s Bloomsbury school of writing and does almost a close psychoanalysis of her main characters.

I also like Roald Dahl for his suspense fiction.  He is the master of the unexpected psychological twist in his writing in the short form.

Out of the modern writers, I like Ian Rankin and Benjamin Black who both write “literary” suspense fiction with good character creation.  They do, however, write noir which is not my style.  

I also think Gillian Flynn is one writer to watch.   The “domestic” psychological thriller sub-genre she has written Gone Girl in is right up my street.

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 
I have two stories half written – “The Bank Job” (Summerset Tales #2) and Buy, Sell, Murder (The Reckless Engineer #2).  Buy, Sell, Murder is set in the London branches of an American investment bank.  I hope to finish both in 2014.
I have started the fifth, In Plain Sight, with just the plot and the main characters designed and only the first chapter written.  I have a hunch that In Plain Sight is going to be my favourite.


Love is a battlefield.  

The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.

Jack Connor's lives an idyllic life by the Portsmouth seaside married to Caitlin McAllen, a stunning billionaire  heiress, and working at his two jobs as the Head of Radar Engineering of Marine Electronics and as the Director of Engineering of McAllen BlackGold, his powerful father-in-law Douglas McAllen's extreme engineering company in Oil & Gas.  He loves his two sons from his first marriage and is amicably divorced from his beautiful first wife Marianne Connor.  Their delicately balanced lives are shattered when alluring Michelle Williams, with whom Jack is having a secret affair and who is pregnant with his child, is found dead and Jack is arrested on suspicion for the murder.

        Jeremy Stone brings London's top defence attorney, Harry Stavers, to handle his best friend's defence.
 
        Who is the bald man with the tattoo of a skull seen entering the victim's house?  Who is "KC" who Caitlin makes secret calls to from a untraceable mobile?  Has powerful Douglas McAllen already killed his daughter's first partner and is he capable of killing again?  Is Caitlin's brother Ronnie McAllen's power struggle with Jack for the control of McAllen Industries so intense that he is prepared to kill and frame his brother-in-law?  Is the divorce from Jack's first wife as amicable on her part as they believe it to be?  Are his sons prepared to kill for their vast inheritance?  Who are the ghosts from Caitlin's past in Aberdeen, Scotland haunting the marriage?  What is the involvement of Jack's manager at Marine Electronics?

        While Jack is charged and his murder trial proceeds in the Crown Court under barrister Harry Stavers’ expert care, Jeremy runs a race against time to find the real killer and save his friend's life, if he is in fact innocent, in a tense saga of love, desire, power, and ambition.

Author BIO
Jac Wright is a published poet, published author, and an electronics engineer educated at Stanford, University College London, and Cambridge who lives and works in England.  Jac studied English literature from the early age of three, developing an intense love for poetry, drama, and writing in Trinity College Speech & Drama classes taken every Saturday for fourteen years, and in subsequent creative writing classes taken during the university years.  A published poet, Jac's first passion was for literary fiction and poetry writing as well as for the dramatic arts.  You will find these influences in the poetic imagery and prose, the dramatic scene setting, and the deep character creation.

These passions - for poetry, drama, literary fiction, and electronic engineering - have all been lovingly combined to create the first book in the literary suspense series, The Reckless Engineer.  There are millions of professionals in high tech corporate environments who work in thousands of cities in the US, the UK, and the world such as engineers, technicians, technical managers, investment bankers, and corporate lawyers.  High drama, power struggles, and human interest stories play out in the arena every day.  Yet there are hardly any books that tell their stories; there are not many books that they can identify with.  Jac feels compelled to tell their stories in The Reckless Engineer series.

Jac also writes the literary short fiction series, Summerset Tales, in which he explores characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances in the semi-fictional region of contemporary England called Summerset, partly the region that Thomas Hardy called Wessex.  Some of the tales have an added element of suspense similar to Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected.  The collection is published as individual tales in the tradition of Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers and Thomas Hardy's Wessex Tales.  The first tale, The Closet, accompanies the author's first full-length literary suspense title, The Reckless Engineer.


Stay up to date with Jac Wright online at: 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

THE KEY Release Day Sale Party!

THE KEY
Release Day Sales
GIVEAWAY Contest

What’s a Release Day Sales Giveaway Contest?
On The Key’s release day Friday, November 15, 2013, Jennifer will be holding a contest!!

How to enter:

1.)    In order to be entered, you must get your friends, your family members, your dry cleaner, the checkout girl at your local Walmart, ANYONE to buy a copy of The Key (ebook and/or paperback).  

2.)    Have said friends give you a screenshot of their order confirmation with the order number on it showing they purchased The Key on 11/15/13!

3.)     You must submit a list of purchase order photos to Author Jennifer Anne Davis via private message on her Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferAnneDavis  

The goal is to get as many of your friends, family members, associates, etc. to purchase a copy of The Key on Friday NOVEMBER 15th, and get the proof of purchase to Jennifer no later than Monday November 18, 2013.

Once your information has been verified, you will be entered into the contest.

Grand Prize = the person who has the most sales = A signed paperback of The Voice, The Power to See, AND The Key. The winner will also receive some swag (book charm, bookmarks, necklace). In addition, the grand prize winner will get a CAMEO in my next book!!! The grand prize winner must show proof that they purchased The Key.

First Runner Up = the person who has the second most sales = A signed paperback of The Voice, The Power to See, and The Key. The First Runner Up must show proof that they purchased The Key.

Second Runner Up = the person who has the third most sales = Your choice of The Voice, The Power to See, OR The Key. The Second Runner Up must show proof that they purchased The Key.

So start spreading the word now, then remind everyone to make their purchase on Friday November 15th!!! Only purchases on Friday November 15, 2013 will be counted!!


Here’s a picture of one of the swag packs!!!


THE KEY by Jennifer Anne Davis

Release Date: November 15, 2013
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing

Within these pages lie kingdoms with castles and princes who fall in love with fair maidens, but make no mistake−this is no fairytale. 

His father's kingdom is on the brink of upheaval and at the center of it all is an ordinary girl who could be the key to its undoing. When faced with the ultimate choice, will he choose the girl he's falling in love with or the kingdom he has sworn to protect?

An ordinary girl with an extraordinary past... All she wants is to be free. What she doesn't realize is that freedom comes with a price she can't afford to pay. She's forced to accept the proposal of a prince she despises, even though her heart belongs to someone else... his brother.

Seventeen-year-old Rema lives in a brutal kingdom where travel between regions is forbidden, people are starving, and looking at someone the wrong way can mean death. Nineteen-year-old Darmik is the king’s son and Commander of the King’s Army. He spends his days roving the island, doing his father’s bidding and trying to maintain control over the people.

When a chance encounter throws Rema and Darmik together, they share an instantaneous connection, but any sort of relationship between them is strictly forbidden. Darmik’s brother, the Crown Prince, notices Darmik’s interest in Rema and, in a calculated, political move, blackmails her. Faced with an impossible choice, Rema is forced to sacrifice her heart in order to save her family. 

As Rema is taken to the palace with the Crown Prince, Darmik confronts the growing rumor that a legitimate blood heir to the throne exists and is trying to overthrow Darmik’s family. In Darmik’s quest to hunt down and kill the threat, he discovers that nothing is as it seems. Locked in the king’s castle, Rema finds herself a key player in a massive power struggle. When Darmik shows up, she’s not sure if she can trust him. The line between friends, enemies, and loyalty becomes blurred. As truths are unlocked, Rema understands that she just might be the key to finding the rightful heir and restoring peace to the kingdom… if she can manage to stay alive long enough.

Excerpt From: THE KEY


Rema politely curtsied. Prince Lennek stepped forward, closing the distance between them. The music started and he placed his hands on her, expertly gliding her around the dance floor. At first Rema was afraid she would trip over her own feet and fall, embarrassing herself and probably meeting everyone’s expectations, but she didn’t. Surprise washed through her, especially since she hadn’t danced with anyone other than her aunt and uncle. But Lennek was dancing a basic four-step foot pattern of which she was well acquainted.

“We haven’t properly met,” Prince Lennek commented. His voice was soft and smooth, like butter. She had the urge to reach out and caress his handsome face. He looked very much like his brother, Prince Darmik. Even Prince Lennek’s tattoo was similar to his brother’s, although Lennek’s black swirls appeared more like knives than flames, especially when the light shone on the silver in the marks. Rema forced herself to focus on the prince’s face, instead of his body.

“No, we haven’t met, Your Highness,” Rema said sarcastically, wanting to stand her ground. She wouldn’t allow him to see the slightest amount of infatuation or intimidation on her part. “So I find it rather interesting that you would summon me here. You are aware that I am engaged to be married?” 

He twirled Rema around and pulled her back to him, his eyes sparkling with amusement. Rema felt everyone watching and appraising her. She tried to focus on the dance and Lennek, not allowing the people’s silent judgments to overwhelm her thoughts. 

“I am Prince Lennek and you are Rema, the local horse merchant’s niece.” His voice was seductive. “And yes, you are currently engaged.” His head bent forward, his lips only inches from her ear. “But things can change. Nothing is set in stone,” he whispered.

She wasn’t sure what he was implying. Did he know she secretly didn’t want to marry? His strong arm slid lower on her back. Rema stumbled, but Prince Lennek changed directions, keeping her upright. She quickly regained her footing, only missing one beat.

“Who taught you to dance?” he pleasantly asked.

Her thoughts refocused on Lennek. “My aunt.”

“Interesting. Most people in the merchant class do not know the dances of the upper class—especially dances done with royalty.” His eyes held a questioning look, awaiting her answer.  

“We are dancing ‘The Courting Dance,’” Rema replied. “It was so named because it is only danced at court, also because it is usually done when a member of the royal family has decided to court someone. It reveals his intentions to his court.”

Lennek’s eyebrows lifted up, surprised. “Why do you know the dance, then?” he inquired.

Was he insulting her? Before she could think her response through, she said, “Perhaps my aunt thought such a beautiful dance shouldn’t be wasted on a select group of people who truly can’t appreciate it.” She smiled sweetly.

“Do you have an answer to everything?” he asked, amused.

“Usually,” she replied, holding her head high.

Prince Lennek laughed and twirled her around again. This time, he pulled her in a little closer. Rema’s chest touched his. His warm hand held her tight. Without meaning to, she glanced up into his eyes. There was something hypnotic about them, and she was unable to look away. 

“I am so glad you wandered into my life.” Prince Lennek chuckled, like it was a private joke. “You are the key to everything.” 

The music ended and the prince glanced away from her, breaking the spell. She stepped back, about to return to her seat when Lennek grabbed her arm.

Shocked, Rema stared at him. His smile vanished. His eyes were cold, as if a mask had been ripped from his face. She tried to step away, but his grip only tightened.

“What do you want?” she whispered.

“You.”

It felt like spiders crawling over her skin. “You can’t have me,” she said.

His features softened. “Really? We’ll see.” He snickered, his mask of charm instantaneously back on and the harshness gone.

Prince Lennek motioned for his steward.

“Rema is leaving the party now.”

About Jennifer Anne Davis



Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she finally married her best friend and high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three young children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.

Visit Jennifer online at www.JenniferAnneDavis.com.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Sign of the Throne

Every teen hits a time in their life where they struggle to define who they are and what their place is in the world. Abby's struggle is a little more challenging than most. Not only is she perched between the worlds of every normal life and the elite society of Newcastle Beach, she is haunted by strange dreams that threaten danger if she doesn't understand their meaning in time.

The story of Sign of the throne envelopes two worlds, that of the world we all live in and the land of Cai Terenmare, a place of magic, destiny, and impending danger. The book opens in the land of Cai Terenmare and immediately drops readers into a well developed fantasy world. Ousley took great care creating a detailed system of magic, a deep history that effects every character, and an intriguing plot that takes the story into the human world.

I was almost sad to leave Cai Teremare when the story continued into the human world, but that only lasted until I met Abby, Jon, and David. From the first introduction, I felt connected to the characters. Abby is someone who's easy to relate to because of her likable personality and struggle to find her place and purpose. Jon was a fun addition to the cast. Not only did he provide comic relief at just the right time, he had a deeper side to his character that will endear him to readers. Even though he harbors romantic feelings for Abby, being her best friend comes first...well, most of the time. He's not perfect, so you can't expect him not to get a little jealous when the gorgeous David makes his entrance.

David isn't someone Abby knows, at least not in real life, but part of the haunting dreams she begins experiencing features David center stage. The dream seem to indicate that David plays a role in her life she doesn't yet understand. When they finally meet in real life, it isn't love at first sight. Not even close. Not only is Abby a little freaked out by the dreams, David has a girlfriend, kind of, and dreams of David are hardly the only unusual events that crop up. Abby is forced to face a whole host of terrifying magical creatures and situations that would put anyone on edge.

The storyline surrounding David's past and true identity, and how Abby fits into the twists and turns that have led them to this moment of decision is captivating. I kept turning pages, eager to know whether Abby would understand what she need to do in time and do it without losing those she cares about. The romance that develops between Abby and David is a draw as well. The romance was clean, but still had enough intensity to keep me eager for their next encounter.

The only area I had any trouble with were some sections where the explanations and backstories ran a little long and pulled me out of the main story too much. This happened mainly when the queen tells Abby about how the Sign of the Throne was recovered. Overall, though, the pacing and story arch were very well done. The characters was wonderfully written as well. I am excited to read the next installment of the Solas Beir Trilogy and continue Abby and David's story.

Connect with Melissa online at


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Sign of the Throne!


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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guest Post: Melissa Eskue Ousley

Today I'm excited to welcome Melissa Eskue Ousley to the blog to talk about her new book Sign of the Throne! 

And stop back by tomorrow for my review of Sign of the Throne!

Sign of the Throne Guest Post
Melissa Eskue Ousley
Traveling
A question I’m often asked about writing Sign of the Throne is: “What inspired the setting?” When I worked as a social science researcher, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel, sharing my research findings at conferences throughout the United States and internationally. I’ve also had the chance to travel in my free time, and I’ve lived in some amazing places. A number of my experiences have inspired the settings for both Cai Terenmare and Newcastle Beach.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by old-growth forests with trees encased in moss. One of my favorite places to visit is Oswald West State Park. To get to the beach, you must journey down a twisting path bordered by ferns and ancient trees with gnarled roots. It’s the kind of forest that could easily be found in the pages of a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to run into a hobbit or some other Tolkien character, but thus far, I’ve only met surfers. The small beach is nestled within a rocky crescent covered in lush vegetation. Waterfalls course down the craggy face of the surrounding cliffs, spilling onto algae encrusted rocks and tide pools populated by sea stars. It’s a stunning beach, and the perfect location to inspire the cliffs near Caislucis, the castle of the Solas Beir.

Not far from there, I encountered a tree stump carved with the face of a bearded man, and crowned in shelf fungus. His origins are a mystery to me, but he inspired the Emerald Guardian, a figure that will make an appearance in The Rabbit and the Raven, the sequel to Sign of the Throne, available March 2014. Caislucis was inspired by the castles and cathedrals I saw in my travels to Europe. The Solas Beir’s home is ivory-colored because in Cai Terenmare, white signifies royalty. The castle has leaded glass oriel windows, gothic arches, and soaring ceilings with ribbed vaults. I’ve not yet been to Morocco or India, but I imagined that Caislucis boasted architectural features similar to buildings you’d find in these locations as well, giving the castle an eclectic look that would feel both familiar and exotic to visitors from our world.

The Spanish Colonial architecture of the Newcastle Beach Inn and the ruined mansion was inspired by the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, California, as well as my old neighborhood near the Arizona Inn in Tucson, Arizona. Across from the Arizona Inn was a mysterious, seemingly abandoned house masked by a tall fence and trees. I heard rumors from neighbors that the large house was built around the same time as the inn and may have been a boarding school, but I never was able to learn more about its history. I longed to explore it, but resisted because I didn’t want to get arrested for trespassing. The conservatory and grounds of the Newcastle Beach mansion were inspired by my visit to Casa Loma in Toronto, although the dome in the ruined mansion is not nearly as elaborate as the one in Casa Loma’s conservatory.

When I traveled to Puerto Rico, I had a few nighttime excursions. I kayaked into a blue lagoon filled with bioluminescent algae that sparkled like stars. This was the inspiration for the second portal in Caislucis. My explorations of Old San Juan and El Morro (a 16th century fortress overlooking the sea) inspired the idea of the Kruorumbrae masquerading as cats. There were a number of cats roaming the narrow streets of the city, and while visiting El Morro, I turned to see the glowing feline eyes and black silhouette of a cat, as it stared at me from atop a stone wall of the fortress.

Finally, my travels to Australia were an inspiration to me. Cai Terenmare is much like Australia, but turned upside down with the tropics to the south. Because of the vast desert in its center, the people of Cai Terenmare live near the coasts and outer regions. While visiting Cairns, I got to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef, and so, of course, David had to experience this as well in his travels. I have not, however, gotten to cage dive with great white sharks, so I’m jealous of his adventures. I’m a bit envious of his 1961 Harley too.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Win a Year of FREE books from Clean Teen Publishing

How would you like to win a year of free books? 

Clean Teen Publishing (the NEW publisher of Wicked Hunger!) is gearing up for their annual end of the year giveaway. Check it out!

WIN A YEAR OF FREE BOOKS! 

Now this is WINNING! We have been kicking around ideas to offer an epic giveaway to our amazing readers who have made our opening year in 2013 amazing for Clean Teen Publishing and Crimson Tree Publishing. We have given away gift cards, swag, free books, a Kindle Fire and more this year. We want our Holiday giveaway to be something big, something from our hearts. We want to offer our readers a gift that keeps on giving! That's when we came up with A YEAR OF FREE BOOKS! Check out the description below to find out what you can win! 


1st Place: A YEAR OF FREE BOOKS From CTP! (Includes the 29 books currently published with CTP and any future books published throughout 2014! *Digital Copies) and a CTP SWAG PACK (Includes bookmarks, Authors Are Our Rockstars Bracelets and MORE Swagalicious goodies!) Prize pack is a $150+ Value including cost of retail books currently published and future books released! 

2nd Place: Readers choice of 5 CTP Books (Current or Future Releases) of their choice (Digital Copies) and a CTP SWAG PACK (Includes bookmarks, Authors Are Our Rockstars Bracelets and MORE Swagalicious goodies!)  Prize pack is a $15+ value not including the value of the swag! 

3rd Place: Readers choice of any CTP Book (Digital Copy) and an Authors Are Our Rockstars Bracelet. Prize pack is up to a $4.99+ value not including the value of the swag! 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 

Question From A Concerned Fan: "I'm the biggest CTP Fan out there and I have all of the books you've published already! What's in this for me?" ~From CTP's biggest fan- Mr. Squirrel

Answer From CTP: "That's totally awesome that you are one of our biggest fans Mr. Squirrel! You know we love our readers, especially the fluffy tailed ones! If you already have all of our CTP books, you can give your free copies to a friend. (Save some money on birthday gifts.) Don't forget you also get future releases as well. In fact, if you email us in advance of upcoming releases, we might even be able to get you ARC's! (Advanced Reader Copies.) Isn't that awesome? Plus you get all of that amazing swag! You'd be nutty not to enter this contest!" ~CTP Gals

Reply From Mr. Squirrel: "You're so right! This sounds like an amazing prize pack. I'm going to go enter right now and I'm going to tell all of my friends about it! PS: You do realize you are having a fictional conversation with a squirrel right now, right?" ~From CTP's biggest fan- Mr. Squirrel

Reply From CTP: "…" ~CTP Gals
We know we're a little bit nutty. ;0) 

SHOW ME THE PRIZES! 

Check out all of our amazing books on our website at: http://www.cleanteenpublishing.com. Did you know that if you don't have an e-reader, you can download our books on most smart phones, tablets and computers? 

  

ENTER NOW for your chance to WIN BIG! 
(Contest Ends on New Years Eve!)