Guest Post Entangle Book Tour

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I’m sharing a guest post today by Veronica Larsen, author of Entangle, a contemporary romance novel. Enjoy the guest post.

Any other name would be as sweet

Guest post by Veronica Larsen, author of Entangle

As a new indie author, I spend countless hours on the Internet researching every aspect of the publishing industry my mental bandwidth allows. Early on in the process, I was overwhelmed and nearly completely discouraged by the sheer mass of information I needed to consume and understand.

Indie authors wear many hats. There’s the creative side to the process and the practical/business aspect to it. There’s the creative challenge of telling a story to the best of your ability. And the responsibility of constructing and executing a marketing strategy for your novel’s release. Often operating just from a gut instinct as there is conflicting accounts on the internet. There’s no definitive “step by step guide” on successful self publishing. Each indie author has to carve their own way and pick through the bottomless pit of information that is the internet to find what works for them. Although I was intimidated, I was also empowered by the possibility of having full creative control over my work and my brand.

Romance isn’t the only genre I write in. It’s not even the original genre I began writing in. All of my life I’ve written fantasy. My first completed manuscript is a YA fantasy, which I originally intended to be my first published work (it’s not ready for the world just yet). Along with this manuscript, I have a handful of pending YA novels in the pipeline, ideas that are fleshed out in outlines and ready for my undivided attention. But right now, my attention is divided. My attention is on the romance novels I am preparing to publish in the coming months: Entangle in December and Entice in the first half of next year.

When I finished the first draft of Entangle, I knew I was going to publish under a pen name. Because categorizing author’s by the genre they write in is something that, I think, we all subconsciously do. YA fantasy and Romance (particularly Romance with an erotic streak) are starkly differing genres, each with their own defined audience. That isn’t to say there’s no overlap in readership (there is), but the genres are targeted to different age groups. This is where my decision to publish under a pen name came into play. Certainly, I wouldn’t want any impressionable young readers to accidentally come across my romance novels in search for my YA works. The content or my romance works is explicit and not meant for readers under 18. I made the decision early on to keep these works separate, to publish romance under a pen name. And thus, Veronica Larsen was born.

I know some authors have successfully crossed genre lines and write everything under one name. I think this is great when it works. But I also think there is something powerful about a consistent brand. For me, as a reader, being able to know what to expect is a relief, considering the mountains of books published every year.

When I want to read a twisty, fast paced thriller, I go straight to Ted Dekker. If I’m in the mood for historical fiction (which I often am) I like to reach for Phillipa Gregory or Virginia Woolf. And so on. It’s nice, for me, to know what to expect from my favorite authors.

Having a pen name does take a little getting used to. Getting to the point of publishing my first novel is a huge personal achievement. Seeing a name other than my own on the book I wrote is a bit…anti-climatic.

But then I remember this isn’t about my name, or even about me. What’s important is getting the story out to the world, because it begs to be known.

Don’t all stories beg to be known? I think so.

About The Book

Cover_ebook_EntangleTitle: Entangle

Author: Veronica Larsen

Genre:  Romance (Adult, Contemporary)

Happily ever after? It doesn’t exist.

I wore the big white dress and rode off with Prince Charming. Then Charming changed his mind.

These days, I don’t put my heart in anyone’s hands because I don’t even know where I’ve left it.

So when a ruggedly handsome, blue-eyed man stirs my desires awake for the first time in years, I tell myself it’s a one-time thing.

And now? I’m hooked. Nothing could prepare me for Leo. He weaves simple, deliberate movements into pure, gilded pleasure. Like a sensual alchemist.

I’m so blinded by lust I barely notice the gaping hole opening underneath me, the one that’s sure to swallow me down. Because every time I’ve dared to get close to someone, they’ve cracked me wide open.

Why should this time be any different?

Links

Twitter: @Author_VLarsen
Facebook: Veronica Larsen
Email: authorveronicalarsen@gmail.com
Wattpad: VMLarsen

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Guest Post Serpent’s Fate Book Tour

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Guest post time! Author J.K. Hogan talks about authors that served as an inspiration for her urban fantasy / paranormal romance “The Serpent’s Fate”.

Authors That Have Inspired Me

When I think of authors who have inspired me, so many come to mind. I was an early reader so I’m sure I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime. But I can narrow it down to three who have most impacted me throughout my reading, and later, writing.

  1. Brian Jacques (http://www.redwallabbey.com/) – When I was in eight grade, I picked up my first Redwall book at the school bookfair. It took me a little while to get around to reading it but once I did, I realized it was like nothing I’d ever read before. It was in a genre that I guess would later become MG/YA, but didn’t really have that distinction back then. While the Redwall series has appeal for younger readers, you almost have to be a little older to completely appreciate how complex and brilliant the stories are. To me, Jacques was a master of world-building and accents, which he so committed to that you could tell what type of character you were reading about by just the accent. I was lucky enough to meet him at a book signing when I was around 17 or 18 and, yes, I was one of the oldest “kids” in line. Sadly, Mr. Jacques passed away last year, and I have yet to read the final book in the series—I’m just not ready to say goodbye.
  2. Nora Roberts (http://www.noraroberts.com/) – Nora Roberts was my first introduction into the romance and romantic suspense genres. Her writing was so down to earth and real, it was what initially made me believe that I could start writing. She was a real person who told awesome stories, and she’d made a name for herself. She inspired me into thinking that possibly I could do the same thing. I still haven’t finished the first book I started after this magical revelation, but some day I will, and I’ll definitely thank Ms. Roberts.
  3. Larissa Ione (http://larissaione.com/) – Other than being an amazing author, Larissa Ione has been my role model for the kind of author I want to be, and the relationship I want to have with my readers. When I was first starting out with Fire on the Island, I reached out to her with some questions, and she always responded to my emails personally, and was very helpful and encouraging. I’ve been able to converse with her via twitter, and she has taught me so much about the value of having a close relationship with the reader. Thanks Larissa!

The Serpent’s Fate

TSF_EbookCoverTitle: The Serpent’s Fate (Vigilati, Book 3)

Author: J.K. Hogan

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Can a traumatized veteran-turned-mercenary who is tormented by voices in his head be saved by the love of a wayward single mother with demons of her own? Afflicted by PTSD from serving in Afghanistan, and tormented by a childhood trauma, transient veteran Matthieu Rousseau struggles with the choices he’s made in his life. Estranged from his family, Matthieu drifts from one mercenary job to the next, until one thing stops him. Fate.

In hiding from her abusive ex-husband, musician Fate Callahan lives in New Orleans with her seven-year-old daughter. She remains in constant fear of being found, and her worst nightmare comes alive when a dark, dangerous stranger tells her he’s been hired to locate and kill her—but wants to save her instead.

Fate and Matthieu find themselves on the run together, fleeing from the hitmen and an unseen evil worse than anything else they’ll face. While just trying to stay alive, they become entangled in the battle between the Vigilati and the Lochrim; an archaic sect of witches and the evil creatures they are bred to fight. Unbeknownst to Fate and Matthieu, they are more deeply connected to the Vigilati than either of them could ever imagine.

They must join family and allies of the Vigilati to help save the human world, possibly saving each other along the way. Matthieu teaches Fate how to trust in love again, while she gives him back the one thing he never thought he deserved—family.

Author Bio

JK_PhotoJ.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?

J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and young son, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit http://www.jkhogan.com.

Links

http://jkhogan.com/
http://twitter.com/JK_Hogan
http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJKHogan
http://www.goodreads.com/jkhogan
http://www.amazon.com/author/jkhogan
http://officialjkhogan.tumblr.com

Guest Post First Admiral Series Tour

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I’m hosting a guest post for the book tour for space opera series “First Admiral”. The guest post is about views and values. Enjoy.

Views and Values

(William J Benning)

 We all tend to have a pretty strong view on what is right and what is wrong – unless, of course, you are a total psychopath!!

And, writing science fiction is no different to any other genre in that respect.  Yet, it is the one with the greatest potential to challenge all of our pre-conceived notions.  Crime thrillers and detective stories can give us a window into a disordered and dysfunctional personality.  But, we will always tend to view that experience through our own inbuilt/conditioned lens of ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  There are very few characters of the real utterly selfish sociopathic persuasion that anyone could consider to be ‘loveable’.  We may admire them for standing against convention; appealing to our inner rebel, or we may identify with them in some of our more wishful moments of anger, outrage and desire for vengeance.  But ultimately, we may never live out those darker fantasies.  The ‘bad’ guys may win the odd battle but ultimately the desire for the right or happy ending consigns them to final defeat. Bonnie and Clyde ended up dead, and in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ it was a short lived victory – a blip in the progress towards the eventual and inevitable outcome.

Another aspect to the crime thriller is that the villain is human.  They have human frailties, weaknesses and are, therefore, judged in terms of purely human values.

In science fiction, the audience may be human (well, most of the time they’ll be human!) but many of the characters may well not.  To attract, and retain, our audience, do we not appeal to those values that we believe we share with others of our species.

Isn’t that a wonderful opportunity to throw off our notions and expectations of good and bad?  After all, we’ve come a long, long way since the days of everyone in the entire universe speaking English – well, at least in the world of TV and Cinema.  Black and white costumes eventually went the way of black and white film.  The magical properties of universal translators may never be fully explained to us primitive Earthlings (!), but, somehow, they work.  And, as a result inter-species communication becomes commonplace and credible.

But, how about extending that suspension of disbelief just a little bit further?

How about looking at what we consider to be ‘bad’ from a different perspective?  Watching some of the “Star Wars” prequels, how many representatives were in the Galactic Senate?  How did anyone manage to get any degree of consensus with so many Senators?  How did any legislation manage to get through?  Wasn’t there case for the foundation of the Empire? Wouldn’t things have run a lot more smoothly with an autocracy?

Oh, but we do love our ‘Freedoms’ don’t we? – no matter how illusory they are.  But, that depends on what kind of freedoms they are.  Are they “freedoms to…” or “freedoms from…”?  And, therein lies a whole philosophical debate.  One person’s ‘freedom’ may be someone else’s “oppression”!

And, yet, why do we tend to view democracy as ‘superior’ to everything else?  Is it because we like some degree of control in our world or do we simply not trust the autocrats – no matter how benevolent or kind they are?

The Klingons, the Romulans, the Go’auld and many others have all had the very nasty habit of not being democratic in their forms of government.  The aggressive, militarist and expansionist bit was an unfortunate coincidence (!)   But, as spectators, we have no real idea of how Mr & Mrs Average Klingon or Mr & Mrs Average Romulan get by on a day to day basis.  For all we know, they may live in a society with an incredibly high standard of living, medical advances beyond our human knowledge, full employment, no debt and streets safe to walk on at night.  So, they don’t get to vote for untrustworthy politicians and charlatans – that no one really trusts, anyway – every now and then.  What kind of loss would that be…realistically?

No, I think we might be dismissing the benefits of autocracy, as well as what are considered other negative attributes, just a bit too quickly in our sci-fi!!

In the First Admiral series, I have to hold my hand up and plead guilty as charged.  The human lead; Billy Caudwell, embodies many of the human virtues that a lot of human readers admire.  His youthful – and, at times naïve – idealism, allows him to make the right moral choices.  And, by the magic of my being the author, things generally work out for him.

However, things are about to change.  Billy is going to face some serious setbacks in future titles which will bring out a much darker side to his personality. The idealistic schoolboy will go through his particular rites of passage, bringing to the surface some very unsavoury attributes.  However, that is what makes Billy Caudwell and everyone else human.  And, despite the almost dogmatic belief, in the universe of sci-fi, of the superiority of homo sapiens, a little walk on the dark side will, hopefully, make Billy Caudwell a much more rounded character.

So, moving the lead character away from his traditional good guy expectations will, hopefully, make for a more enjoyable series.

The Series

First Admiral

Book 1 First AdmiralIt’s not easy being an ordinary teenager leading a hazardous and exciting double life.

The Garmaurians, the most advanced species in the universe, wiped themselves out with a bio-weapon in a senseless civil war. And, in a desperate attempt to protect the secret of the potentially dangerous Trion technology – the ability to manipulate the fundamental particle of the universe – their leader sends one last covert mission to Earth. The mission goes horribly wrong, leaving Billy Caudwell; an overweight, acne-scarred 14 year old, with the Mind Profile of a military genius, a huge battle fleet and a mission to unite the intelligent species of the universe in a Universal Alliance.

With people to rescue, space fleets to battle and villains to defeat, Billy has to overcome his own inhibitions, insecurities and a vicious bully before he can start saving the universe.

Welcome, dear readers, to the exciting universe of First Admiral. – Over 3,000 copies sold.

The Burning Sun

Book II The Burning SunThe adventure continues for Billy Caudwell, the teenage First Admiral of the Universal Alliance Fleet.

The Bardomil Empress, eager to avenge the defeat of her Imperial Fleet at the hands of Billy Caudwell, acquires a weapon that can generate super-charged solar flares and incinerate entire planets.  Having tested the weapon, the Empress discovers a strategic territorial weakness in Billy’s Alliance and launches the solar flare weapon at Planet Earth as a diversion to a full-scale assault on the Alliance.  Billy Caudwell, still trying to stay on top of his dangerous double life, now has to protect Earth and save the Alliance from annihilation.

And, as if that’s not enough, Billy also has girl troubles!

Time Commander

Book III Time CommanderThe third installment in the exciting First Admiral Series, Time Commander follows the continuing adventures of Billy Caudwell; the teenage First Admiral of the Universal Alliance Fleet as he strives to prevent a long, protracted and bloody war with the Ganthorans.
Having defeated a Ganthoran Frontier Fleet General in battle, Billy Caudwell must undertake the dangerous ‘Time Warrior Ritual’. In the ritual, Billy has to re-fight (and win) a major battle, that in the history of his species was lost – and in which the losing Commander was killed. To prevent years, possibly decades, of costly warfare, Billy must complete the ritual and claim the Crystal Throne of Ganthus. If Billy completes the challenge, he will become the Emperor of the Ganthorans. If he fails, he will die on a historical battlefield from Earth’s past.
Sinister powerful and xenophobic forces among the Ganthoran aristocracy and military are ranged against Billy, determined to prevent an alien claiming the Crystal Throne.
Can Billy survive the challenge and avert a brutal and costly war?

The Ganthoran Gambit

Book IV The Ganthoran GambitBilly Caudwell, the teenage First Admiral of the Universal Alliance Fleet, has successfully completed the Time Warrior Ritual and stands as Emperor-elect of the Ganthoran Empire.

However, he has little time to savour his triumph. Even as Billy emerges from the Time Warrior Arena, the four remaining Frontier Fleets have mutinied against him under the influence of a mysterious and anonymous shadow Emperor. A sociopathic Frontier Fleet General has occupied the Empire’s capital city, wreaking a terrible vengeance upon his enemies and the civilian population.

With the shattered remains of a Frontier Fleet and a weakened Alliance contingent, Billy Caudwell has to take the biggest gamble of his life. With the fate of an empire at stake, Billy has to risk everything to prevent decades of war and bloodshed.

Author Bio

The author, William J.Benning was born in Dumfries (south west Scotland) in 1963. With his 50th birthday fast approaching, Benning has decided to grow old disgracefully. An intensely private individual, Benning recently returned to his home town seeking inspiration for his passion of creative writing. At age 18, Benning left home to take an Honours Degree in Psychology at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. He has some very fond memories, and many nights of vague recollection – which are, on the whole, probably best forgotten (!) – from his student days. After graduating, Benning had a career “false start” moving into the world of Pest Control Management. However, after several unhappy years, he switched tack and took further qualifications in Personnel Management, carving out a successful and enjoyable career in Human Resources as well as Learning & Development. Throughout his career, Benning has worked to support the activities of the British Red Cross.

From his early days as a First Aid Volunteer, he enjoyed working for the organisation which gave him further skills and built his self-confidence. Progressing within British Red Cross, Benning became a First Aid Instructor (Trainer), Assessor and Lecturer plus becoming invoved in training other Trainers and Assessors. Having returned to Dumfries to further his writing career, Benning now lives alone, but has been adopted by four members of the Canine Community. With four dogs in his life – and a newly arrived litter of Tibetan Terrier pups – plus a newly published novel, life is never going to be dull for Benning. William likes his sci-fi, but is also keen on military history and speculative fiction. Among his fiction favourites are Harry Turtledove, the late George MacDonald Fraser, Bernard Cornwell and Clive Cussler. William collects Edinburgh Crystal and has a terrible weakness for malt whisky. He has published his novel First Admiral with Malachite Quills in 2012.

Links

www.clockworkquills.com
http://www.wjbenning.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/FirstAdmiralSeries

Buy your own copy of the First Admiral series here: http://www.clockworkquills.com/the-first-admiral-series.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post Shelf Life Tour

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I’m hosting a guest post by Christina George, the author of Shelf Life (The Publicist, Book Two). Thank you for visiting my blog, Christina. I’ll leave the word to you now.

Celebrity Endorsements

 “A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.”– Fred Allen

One complimentary nod from a famous face can launch even the most obscure product. Most advertising agencies pay a high price to have a celebrity take a swig of their soft drink or wear a pair of their running shoes. The good news is, if you can get an endorsement for your book it probably won’t cost you a thing, except time, patience, persistence, and oh, did I mention patience? It’s a long road that you should start down as soon as you have a reasonably final manuscript, but however long it is, it can prove very profitable.

The first thing you have to remember when you’re trying to get a celebrity to endorse your book is that they’d be doing you a huge favor. Contact them in the way they wish to be contacted (mail, email or fax); follow their guidelines (or their agents’ guidelines) to the letter.

The Wish List

Who your chosen celebrities are will likely depend on your book. First of all, you’re going to want to contact those celebs who have a vested interest in your topic – that will help to greatly increase your chances of getting a response.  They don’t need to be the hottest big names. You might target a radio personality, a local standout, or an author.

When you’re putting together your list of desired endorsements, make it long to begin with – 20 or so names. One by one, some of these celebs might fall off.  “No interest” or “On location” are the two biggest reasons I encounter.

If your target is an actor, you’ll want to start by contacting The Screen Actor’s Guild to get current agent/publicist information. You can do this by calling: (323) 549-6737 if the celeb you’re looking for is LA based. If not, head on over to www.sag.org for the current contact information for the Guild’s New York office. If you’re trying to reach an author, your best bet will be to search for the author’s own website, determine who the publisher and/or agent is and call them. Or try sending your request to The Author’s Guild (staff@authorsregistry.org).

The Package

Once you’ve gotten contact information for everyone on your list, get your package ready to send. Some people will want to see a synopsis, outline or press release. Whatever they ask for, make sure it’s ready to send off to them right away. The last thing you need is a delay in getting information out.

Wait a few days to confirm receipt of this information and then, if you’re asked to send your packet, make sure it has a professional and appreciative cover letter on top. Remember, they don’t have to do this. The letter should note that you will forward a copy of the final book once it’s printed. The other contents of your endorsement package should be nearly the same as the contents of a review kit—press release, book information, synopsis, book—but you’ll also want to include a list of “sample endorsements” and a reply card that makes it easy to get back to you.

Once that package is sent, then it’s time to wait and wait and wait and sometimes re-send them a package if someone can’t seem to locate it when you follow up. All the while remember that getting even one famous face to acknowledge your work is often enough to prompt an apprehensive buyer to give your book a second look, and that can make all the difference.

One final tip: if you happen to be at an event where the celeb is (perhaps a conference or other speaking venue) try and approach them with your book. Make sure your contact information is not loose but pasted or written inside the book because contact points will get separated. When you hand off your book, ask them how you can follow up. Likely they’ll have a “handler” nearby who can help you and get you contact and follow up information. Also, one more tip: make sure you’re the last person in line waiting to see the celeb so you don’t get ushered out too quickly to “keep the line moving.” I’ve actually done this a few times to get celeb endorsements for clients and it absolutely works.

Good luck!

Christina George http://www.thepublicistnovel.com

About Shelf Life

18068418Title: Shelf Life (The Publicist Book Two)

Author: Christina George

Genre: Contemporary Romance

“…this book grabbed my interest from page one. I’m sure Ms. George has more than a few industry insiders chuckling at her stories and cringing at how close to home they hit.”

Scandalicious Book Reviews

Shelf Life:

The Publicist Book Two

~

The story only an insider could tell.

Publishing: An industry of out-of-control of egos, unrealistic expectations, and books with the shelf life of milk.

This is Kate’s world, but for how long?

When one of Kate Mitchell’s star authors is carted away in handcuffs, she thinks it’s only the beginning of her troubles. As her world crumbles around her, Kate desperately looks for anyone to hold onto but finds that happy endings are truly works of fiction. When her career and love affair hit their expiration date, Kate sets off on a new adventure….

Starting over in California is easy, but Kate soon learns that leaving her old life behind isn’t. Nicholas Lavigne is eager to help her forget, but two things still own her heart, the dream of discovering the next great American novel, and MacDermott Ellis.

As Kate tries to rebuild her life she finds a surprising gift that reboots her career in a new and unexpected direction. Suddenly her name becomes synonymous with one of the biggest bestsellers publishing has seen in ages and she’s welcomed back with open arms. At the height of her success the ghosts of her past come back to remind her of the world she’d been trying to forget and the man who never let go of her heart.

Behind the book, there’s always more to the story.

Welcome to Publishing, the ego has landed.

“The Publicist is great chick lit!” Elizabeth Barbarick, Stuffed Shelves

“Very well written with a great cast of characters.” Kindles & Wine Book Blog

Author Bio

Christina GeorgeI’ve worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn’t. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, hell it’s more fun to guess, right? I continue to work in publicity and help authors because at the end of the day I do love books, I love publishing, and I love authors. I hope you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Find our more at: www.thepublicistnovel.com

Links

http://www.amazon.com/Shelf-Life-The-Publicist-Book-ebook/dp/B00FA5EB4Q/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1382023978&sr=8-3&keywords=shelf+life

Guest Post Waking up Dead Tour

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I’m hosting a guest post for the “Waking up Dead” tour today. I’ll leave the word to author Margo Bond Collins!

Book Picks and What’s in My Library

Like most novelists, I am a voracious reader in my field, which means that I read all kinds of urban fantasy and paranormal fiction. But in addition to being an urban fantasy writer, I am a college English professor with a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature. This means that any time anyone wants to talk books, I have more than my share to say!

It also means that my personal library is eclectic, to say the least. I have shelves full of books from getting my degrees—fiction as well as literary criticism. I also write articles about television shows, so I have a number of academic books about popular culture, too!

Like most novelists, I am a voracious reader in my field, which means that I read all kinds of urban fantasy and paranormal fiction. But in addition to being an urban fantasy writer, I am a college English professor with a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature. This means that any time anyone wants to talk books, I have more than my share to say!

In early British literature, I love the classics—but especially the stories with heroes and monsters: Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Knight’s Tale. I love Shakespeare’s plays, but my favorites to teach are Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream because each is such a great example of its genre. Hamlet’s tragedy seems virtually unavoidable, and Midsummer’s comedy hits all the high (and low!) points.

In my own sub-specialty of eighteenth-century British literature, I love the early novels written by some of the first women to make a living writing in England, such as Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, and Delarivier Manley. Behn’s 1688 novel Oroonoko tells the story of a king who became a slave and found the woman he loved in the process, only to kill her and their unborn child to save them from slavery. In Haywood’s Fantomina (1724), a young noblewoman sets off on a sexual adventure full of disguises and intrigue. And in Manley’s The Wife’s Resentment (1720), a young woman takes revenge against her unfaithful husband with a gruesome murder. These early novels influenced later gothic tales, with virtuous damsels in distress and monstrous villains out to destroy them.

I think these various loves in more traditional literature—monsters, heroes, strong women, and gothic settings—are all parts of what have influenced my love of urban fantasy and horror. I love seeing many of the same tropes and ideas in more recent publications that influenced earlier works, as well.

So with that, here is a list of five of my favorite urban fantasy and horror reads, along with a few thoughts about each of them. Enjoy!

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. When I think of “urban fantasy,” I tend to think of vampires, werewolves, and the like. But Perdido Street Station epitomizes another kind of urban fantasy—also gritty, dark, and full of half-human creatures moving through a landscape that is alien and bizarre.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. What better setting for urban fantasy than the London Underground? When Richard Mayhew stops to help a young girl on the street, he is pulled into a world below and will never be the same. This was probably the first true “urban fantasy” novel I read a number of years ago—and wow! What an introduction!

Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I re-read this book about once every twelve to eighteen months. McKinley does a beautiful job of setting up a world that is almost, but not exactly, like our own. The eponymous protagonist almost seems to ramble sometimes, but the voice is perfectly her own and the things she reveals about herself are beautifully woven back into the plot. Also, the vampires are creepy as all get-out!

Nightlife (Cal Leandros #1) by Rob Thurman. What I love about this novel is the way in which the narrative shifts perspective in such a lovely and horrific manner. The story draws the reader into complicity with horrific evil. It’s a great move that left me breathless. In fact, for that same kind of twist, I would recommend Thurman’s Trick of the Light, too.

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski.  Okay. This isn’t really “urban fantasy.” But it is horror at its stomach-churning best. It left me with chills. It’s a smart read and, like Nightlife, makes the reader a part of the horror it induces. It’s a haunting vision of a house that can’t contain the horror within.

 

A few urban fantasy series faves, too (because I find I can’t ignore these!):

The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

The Kate Daniels Magic series by Ilona Andrews

The Stray series by Rachel Vincent

Kitty the Werewolf series by Carrie Vaughn

The Spider’s Web series by Jennifer Estep

 

MargoBondCollinsMargo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.

 

Waking Up Dead Blurb

 

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?

 

 

Excerpt

 

When I died, I expected to go to heaven.

Okay. Maybe hell. It’s not like I was perfect or anything. But I was sort of hoping for heaven.

Instead, I went to Alabama.

Yeah. I know. It’s weird.

I died in Dallas, my hometown. I was killed, actually. Murdered. I’ll spare you the gruesome details. I don’t like to remember them myself. Some jerk with a knife–and probably a Bad-Mommy complex. Believe me, if I knew where he was, I’d go haunt his ass.

At any rate, by the time death came, I was ready for it–ready to stop hurting, ready to let go. I didn’t even fight it.

And then I woke up dead in Alabama. Talk about pissed off.

You know, even reincarnation would have been fine with me–I could have started over, clean slate and all that. Human, cow, bug. Whatever. But no. I ended up haunting someplace I’d never even been.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, right? Ghosts are supposed to be the tortured spirits of those who cannot let go of their earthly existence. If they could be convinced to follow the light, they’d leave behind said earthly existence and quit scaring the bejesus out of the poor folks who run across them. That’s what all those “ghost hunter” shows on television tell us.

Let me tell you something. The living don’t know jack about the dead.

Not this dead chick, anyway.

 

Buy Waking Up Dead on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Waking-Up-Dead-ebook/dp/B00FOXWLM8/

Connect with Margo

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins

Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com

Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin  @MargoBondCollin

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins

Facebook Novel Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waking-Up-Dead/502076076537575

Tumblr: http://vampirarchybooks.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

 

Be sure to add Waking Up Dead to your Goodreads bookshelves: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18428064-waking-up-dead

 

Book Trailers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j_TmvpxxBw

http://youtu.be/KUBg83s4BOU

Guest Post for Chasing The Witch Tour

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I’m hosting a guest blog post today for the “Chasing The Witch” Tour. Chasing The Witch is a paranormal romance novel by author Jessica Gibson. Now I’ll leave the stage and hand my blog to Jessica for the day!

Guest Blog Post

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today Elise! Today we’re going to talk about book crushes 🙂 Here is my top 10 list of very swoon worthy guys.

1      Bones from the Night Huntress series~ He is beyond swoon worthy, he’s a vampire, with an accent….enough said lol.

2      Dorian from the Gwen Sparks series~ The sexy angel of death. He has looks, and a killer sense of humor….pretty much the whole package right?

3      Mason from the Mystic Wolves series~ Can you say Alpha??? Yowza, he’s a whole lot of hotness wrapped up in a bow for you. He takes care of his own, that right there makes me sigh.

4      Barrons from the Fever series~ I love his wit. He was such a mystery to me in the first book. I couldn’t get a handle on him, and it made me like him so much more.

5      Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series~ I think I have read all the books in this series at least 3-4 times just to swoon over Jaime. He’s a highlander, so accent, and his love for his wife Claire is sigh worthy.

6      Matthew Clairmont from the All Souls series~ Vampire, accent, book smarts. I liked him almost immediately in the first book. Very swoony.

7      Eric from the True Blood series~ He’s a badass. What girl doesn’t like a hunky bad boy? We might say we don’t, but we totally do lol.

8      Damon from the Vampire Diaries~ I will say that I watched the show before reading the books, so when I read them, I totally pictured Ian Somerhalder as Damon. He’s another bad boy, although he for sure has a good side to him, it just takes a while to see it.

9      Hades from the Spellbound series~ Are you noticing a trend? Hades isn’t really a bad boy though. He’s just sort of misunderstood. He is a romantic at heart, once you read the books you’ll understand.

10   Harry Potter from well, Harry Potter~ I have a nerdy sort of book crush on him. He enticed the young girl in me who always wanted to believe in magic.

Tell me, who is your book crush????? Thanks again for having me Elise!

About Chasing The Witch

????????????????????????????????????????Title: Chasing The Witch

Author: Jessica Gibson

Genre: Paranormal Romance

After the events of Mark of the Witch, Jilly at last begins to breathe easier though her powers are still growing. But can she harness them in time to confront a new chain of events that threatens to change everything?

Caroline has finally accepted her life as a witch, but when a stranger comes into her life she’s forced to question her family loyalty.

The sisters are thrown together to protect a young girl from the enemy determined to hunt her down. Can they save her — and themselves?

Author Bio

154629_10151235773585896_198368657_nJessica Gibson is a recovering bookaholic, she’s down from four books a week to a more reasonable one. It was that love of words and creativity that made her dream about writing her first book. That dream was hidden for years, always put on the back burner, filed away in the “someday” section, until her husband Matt gave her the kick in the pants she needed to actually get off her butt and write.
Jessica and Matt live in Southern California and have a serious addiction to reality tv shows like Pawn Stars and American Restoration. They have one son and hope to add to the family in the near future.
Aside from writing, she runs an online event planning business called the Release Day Diva. In addition to novels, Jessica writes and maintains the blog Book on the Bright Side. Keep up with Jessica and her latest releases and events on her blog.

Website: www.releasedaydiva.com

Book Blog : www.bookonthebrightside.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Gibson/120212814747940
Twiter: @jessicajgibson

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Witch-Boston-Witches-ebook/dp/B00A98WS7G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359023692&sr=8-1&keywords=chasing+the+witch

Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Witch-Boston-Witches-book/dp/1480267627/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1359023719&sr=8-7&keywords=chasing+the+witch

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16172817-chasing-the-witch

Guest Post by Courtney Elliott for “The Chick Flick Project” Tour


I’m hosting Courtney Elliott on my blog today. Courtney Elliot is the author of romance/comedy novel, The Chick Flick Project. She’s now touring with The Chick Flick Project and dropping by my blog with a guest post.

My Style of Writing

I usually get an idea for a story from just about anything. I can see a leaf falling from a tree branch, and it can make me want to tell a poignant love story. I’ve gotten ideas from a word in a song, a name in a movie, and even a friend’s dream.

I don’t usually like to stick to one genre when I write. I know that can be a major downfall to writing, but the way I see it, it can reach a wider audience. I know personally I will read any kind of story so long as it’s a good story. If I can get all that from one author, then more power to them. I know it’s a different way to approach things, but that’s usually the way my mind works.

I don’t really have a filter when it comes to what kind of story I’m telling. One day, I’ll write a story about a girl who’s spent her entire life being in love with the cute boy at the local coffee shop. Then the next day I’m writing a story about a young man that finds out he’s something much different than he ever imagined. The only thing that I do keep as a standard point is that there is always a love story. There will always be two people that, despite everything going on around them, will find each other and realize they’re meant to be. There’s something so incredible about that to me.

While I don’t have a particular genre that I keep to, I think the style that I work the best in is probably romantic comedy. When I began working on The Chick Flick Project, I was able to incorporate a lot of my own personality to it. The sarcasm that the characters share with one another is usually how my friends and I are around each other, so it was a lot more fun for me to write.

I tend to model my stories after some of my favorites. For instance, some of my favorite stories to read are the tragedies. I think in all honesty that those are the stories that can capture a reader more than anything else. They are the ones that can stay with a person. I also happen to like reading happy romantic comedies. I’m a fairly sarcastic person so any kind of story that can make me laugh out loud is one that I will read over and over again.

I try and make most of my stories have that aspect just as much as the love story. When you can make your reader laugh or cry with your characters then you know you’ve done something right. I know that’s something that will keep the reader coming back to relive the story over and over again. That’s the main goal that I aim for when I decide to transform any idea into an actual story.

About The Chick Flick Project

Title: The Chick Flick Project
Author: Courtney Elliott
Genre: Romance, Comedy

Ally Nichols is fed up with constantly putting herself out there to only be rejected again and again. After her most recent failure, she comes up with a solution. She decides to start modeling her love life after all of the big screen’s most recognizable love stories. Hilarity, heartbreak, mishaps and mayhem ensue. She hopes that maybe one of them actually figured out the secret to true love. The only problem: no one ever told her that sometimes your Hollywood Happy Ending is where you least expect to find it.

Author Bio

Courtney Elliott lives in a small town in Texas called Cleburne. She has been writing stories since she was eight years old. She’s an easy person to get along with. She loves making jokes, most of which are self deprecating. She’s not ashamed of who she is therefore not afraid to be herself. She may be young, but does not believe age should be a factor, her writing should speak for itself.

Links

Goodreads | Author on Goodreads | Facebook | Courtney’s Blog | Senzuri Books Facebook