This Weeks Read: Whistle Down The Wind by Sibelle Stone

whistle down the wind

Arrested for using her magical powers to protect herself, Catlin Glyndwr faces the hangman’s noose. Descended from a long line of elemental witches, she can control the wind and weather. But the worst thing that can happen in 1664 England is to be charged with practicing of witchcraft. Especially when the accusation is true.

Sir Griffin Reynolds is visiting his closest childhood friend before embarking on a secret mission for King Charles II to the New World. When his friend becomes deathly ill while interrogating a beautiful woman accused of witchcraft, Griffin accepts her offer of help. In exchange for her freedom, she’ll heal his friend.

When Griffin and Catlin embark on a journey to Virginia to save the colony, they succumb to the temptation of a white hot passion that blazes between them. But a Dark Druid stalks Catlin, and if he can’t possess her and her magic — no man will.

A beautiful witch discovers there’s more than one way to be wicked!

Get a copy of Whistle Down The Wind at:

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Amazon

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Guest Post – David Freed

SmilingDavid1smallIBRU is very excited to have David Freed back on the blog. Landra reviewed his book Flat Spin last year and gave it an enthusiastic YAY rating.

The floor is yours, David!

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
 
Aside from the Almighty, what line of work other than writing fiction grants somebody the omnipotent power to create people out of whole cloth? None, to my knowledge. At least none that allow you to do your divine conjuring sitting unshaven at a laptop, swilling coffee, in your gym shorts.
 
It’s heady stuff, constructing human beings, even rotten ones that you know whose lives you’re going to cut short and kill off in chapter one. You have to imbue your creations with just enough tangible detail that the reader will see them clearly in their minds as their eyes glide over your pearly prose. No detail, in my opinion, is more significant than assigning a character the perfect name. No part of the writing process is more rewarding for me, or challenging. I’m always amazed how quickly I can run out of truly good names, the ones that come to me without too much heavy lifting and fit the character organically. I’ve been known to spend hours looking for names.
 
Every author has their little tricks. I have a writer friend who, with some slight modification, tends to name the more loathsome female characters in his books after embittered ex-girlfriends and former wives, of which he has no shortage. It’s great payback, he insists, for all the heartache he’s endured over the years at their hands. Another friend names his characters after kids who snubbed him in high school. I’m hesitant to employ either strategy, if only because I don’t want to answer the doorbell one day to find some enraged, knife-wielding former flame standing on my front porch, much less the pyromaniac I partnered with in 11thgrade chemistry class. I want to keep everybody happy. I want them buying my books. Still, I prefer that the names of the characters I create hold some personal meaning, whether poignant or funny. It helps me envision them more easily and, hopefully, write them more vividly.
 
The hero of my mystery novels, Cordell Logan, lives with a cat named Kiddiot. In the name of full disclosure, I once lived with a cat whose name was Shadow, but who came to be known as Kiddiot because she may well have been the dumbest cat in the history of felines—it took her five years to figure out that we had a cat door, and another two years to realize she could go out and come back in through the same door. The real Kiddiot was a scrawny gray tabby; the fictitious Kiddiot is a big ball of orange fur with legs. But, truthfully, that’s the only character I’ve ever named who I actually knew.
 
Sometimes, I’ll name a character after college or professional football players I’ve admired, mixing first and last names so it’s not too obvious. I might do the same with the first and last names of good friends, my own children or other relatives—a waiter who appears on page 132; the clerk at Office Max on page 280–just to make sure my peeps have actually read the book.   
 
I often also rely on World War II when in need of a name. Sitting on my writing desk is a large handsome volume, bound in blue, that chronicles the combat record of the 96th Bomb Group, part of the famed 8th Air Force that helped defeat Hitler’s Germany. A cousin whom I never knew co-piloted a B-17 Flying Fortress assigned to the 96th. He was killed in action about a week before D-Day. In the back of the book, listed alphabetically, are his name, those of his nine crewmates, and more than 900 other airman who fell in battle. With more than a little reverence, I’ve borrowed more than a few of their names when giving life to fictional characters, because as long as a man is remembered, he’s never really gone.   
                
I love using ethnic names and nicknames because they help the reader distinguish one character from another. I fall in love with names. And out of love. A character named “Trout” early on may become “Biletnikoff” in a later draft. This is particularly problematic for persnickety copy editors who tend to value consistency in the manuscripts they fine-tune, and who can tend to get a little out of joint when Word’s “find and replace” tool doesn’t always find and replace because I’ve misspelled the name.
 
I’m also not beyond using the names of loyal fans. Email me. Tell me why I should name a character after you in my next novel, and I just might!
 
      
 
fangsout“Told in the first-person, Fangs Out is the second book in the widely acclaimed Cordell Logan series, and like its predecessor is filled with bullet-speed wit, original characters (and a cat to die for), plus a fast-paced and intelligent plotline, climaxing with more than one surprise, especially the surprise on the very last sentence of the book.
 
“David Freed is a master of mordant one-liners for which Raymond Chandler’s leading man, Philip Marlowe, would have given his eye teeth. Highly recommended for crime and thrillers fans alike.”
 
New York Journal of Books
 
 
“Freed’s skills as a reporter, screenwriter, and pilot made his first Logan tale (Flat Spin) a delight, and this one continues that roller-coaster pleasure.Logan is a stubborn, wise-cracking, ordinary guy with some extraordinary skills and a passion for flying. He does have a few problems following the Buddha’s precepts on nonviolence, but readers will eagerly look forward to his further attempts to combine flying and detection.”
 
–Library Journal
 
 
“In Freed’s crackling second mystery…the appealing Logan, a wise-cracking, marriage-challenged loner trying to practice Buddhist tenets, proves his mettle as both pilot and investigator.”
 
–Publishers Weekly
 
 
“An intriguing mystery. When Logan is in the air, Freed’s series really takes off.”
 
Booklist
David Freed is a screenwriter, author and former investigative journalist for The Los Angeles Times. He served as The Times’ lead police reporter, was an individual finalist for the Pulitzer Prize’s Gold Medal for Public Service, the highest award in American journalism, and later shared in a Pulitzer Prize for the newspaper’s coverage of the 1992 Rodney King riots. He reported from Saudi ArabiaKuwait and Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. He has an extensive knowledge of law enforcement, aviation and military affairs..
 
The son of a Denver police officer and a graduate of Colorado State University, Freed began his journalism career at the Colorado Springs Sun and Rocky Mountain News before moving to the Los Angeles Times, where he spent the bulk of his newspaper career.
 
After leaving The Times, Freed worked as an investigator and associate field producer for the Los Angeles bureau of CBS News, helping cover the OJ Simpson murder case. That same year, he sold his first feature-length screenplay, the action-thriller Stealth, to 20th Century Fox.
 
Other script sales and/or screenwriting assignments have included: City Held Hostage (NBC Productions); Down Range (Nu-Image); Behind Enemy Lines (CBS Productions); Road Rage  (Fox Television Studios); A Glimpse of Hell (F/X Networks); Breaking the Code  (F/X Networks); The Shiva Club (William Shatner’s Melis Productions); Syncopation, the Davey Yarborough Story (Showtime); Crescent Moon (MGM/United Artists and Trilogy Entertainment); and Rules of War(Court TV). His last film project was The Devil Came on Horseback, a feature film for the independent production company, 72 Productions. 
 
In addition to his work in the entertainment industry, Freed is a regular contributor to the Smithsonian’s Air & Space magazine and other national magazines. His 8,600-word exposé in The Atlantic, detailing how the FBI pursued the wrong suspect in a string of anthrax murders following 9/11, was honored as a 2011 finalist in Feature Writing by the American Society of Magazine Editors.
 
Freed has also scripted interactive computerized training simulations for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, the Army’s Battle Command Battle Lab, and other entities within the federal intelligence community. He holds an active government security clearance.
 
Freed is the author of a humor book, “Dear Ernest and Julio: the Ordinary Guy’s Search for the Extraordinary Job,” (St. Martin’s Press, 1997). His first novel, the mystery-thriller, “Flat Spin” (The Permanent Press) debuted in May 2012. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America and the International Association of Crime Writers.
 
An instrument-rated private pilot and aircraft owner, Freed lives in Santa BarbaraCalifornia, with his wife, Elizabeth, a psychologist. They have two adult children.
 
Visit him at David-Freed.com

Author Journey – Kendall Grey

So excited to have one of my favorite authors PERIOD on the blog today! In case you’re new to the blog, or your memory is . . . about as good as mine, Kendall’s novel Inhale received YAY ratings from both Landra and me, so it’s a good ‘un.

And here’s her journey.

Take it away, Kendall!

 

Every writer—published or not—has story to tell about her “journey.” Here’s mine in easy-to-digest bullet points, pre-chewed for your convenience:

1. I read TWILIGHT and decided I should write a book. How many times have you heard that one before? 😉

2. I wrote a book and thought it was totally badass. All my friends agreed.

3. I queried agents and editors. I quickly learned my book was not, in fact, badass. Rather, it was just plain bad.

4. I screamed, cried, cursed my friends for lying to me, and tore out my hair. Oh, the misery! Oh, the depths of despair!

5. I blew my nose and started looking for solutions to my bad book problem. I joined some writer groups and found a critique partner.

6. I revised the book with my CP’s help.

7. I sent it out again. More rejection. More wailing. More mourning and gnashing of teeth.

8. I joined a specialty group of fantasy writers and got more feedback. I revised the book again.

9. I entered contests and failed miserably at them. More revision ensued.

10. I got a big nibble from my dream agent after winning a critique from her. She asked me to revise and resubmit.

11. More contest entries. I finaled in a few and won 1st place in one.

12. At the husband’s insistence, I decided that if my dream agent said no again, I would self-publish. It had been 3 years. Enough of this crap.

13. After 40+ rejections, more than 10 contest finals, thirteen major rewrites, and four years of blood, sweat, and tears, I self-published INHALE in 2012. I vowed to donate all profits from that book and the rest of the trilogy to programs that educate people about whales.

14. Great! I was finally published. But I wasn’t selling very many books, so no profits for the whales. Damn it.

15. Back to square one with a new twist. How do you get noticed when you’re buried under a million other authors who are all vying for the same audience?  (When you figure it out, let me know.)

16. I used all sorts of marketing ploys to attract potential readers. Most of them didn’t work. So I wrote another book and published it.

17.  Yada, yada, yada…Same shit, different book, but sales increased once I had a book in the back catalogue.

18. I published my third book in January and wrote my first donation check for $5,000 to Whale Camp. I guess maybe I have sold a few books after all. 🙂

Most days I don’t feel like I know any more now than I did four years ago. One thing I do know, however, is that the more you publish, the more books you sell. That’s a fact. So, I’m back to plotting and planning my next series, taking what I’ve learned from the awesome writer friends who’ve helped along the way, and putting my creativity to work.

Number one lesson learned: The destination isn’t nearly as important as the journey.

Thank you for joining us again, Kendall. We love having you grace our blog.

All of Kendall’s stuff is available through:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Author Interview: Meg Whitlock

megwdwyc

Meg Whitlock, author of The Dark Man’s Son, kindly sat down with me and answered a few questions about her terrific novel.

Thanks so much for your time, Meg!

I love the different angle taken for this story. It’s not angels and demons, it’s something different. What was the inspiration for writing The Dark Man’s Son?

Oh, wow, that’s a complicated question. Alex/Claire/Helene is a character I created a long time ago, and she’s really evolved over the years, as have the Guardians themselves. Originally it was just her, then there were a whole bunch of them, and then I settled on the idea of two. The idea of this particular book started percolating a few years ago. I wrote the scene where Jason gets mugged and Alex saves him, and I really liked that. This ordinary guy finds himself in this crazy situation…how does he deal with it? Where does it take him? It all flowed from there.

 

Not many books are written in third person omniscient anymore. I confess, it suits the book.  Was that a conscious decision from the start?

Yes, absolutely. I’ve tried to write in first person before, and I just can’t, really. It doesn’t suit me. I like getting inside the different characters’ heads. I never really intended for Jason to be the main character, so originally it was all supposed to be from Alex’ pov—but then, how relatable is she, really? So it changed to Jason. But, then, I like Cassius so much…so I said to heck with it and just threw everyone in the pot.

 

The guardians are a new idea twist on the good and evil dichotomy. Why do you think God found them so appealing as a ‘go between’ for humans? Does that tie into the Mandate being such a strict rulebook for the angels and demons?

First of all, I needed something to sort of bind the power of both angels and Guardians—hence Mandate. Otherwise you’d have these omnipotent immortal beings running around doing whatever they wanted whenever they wanted and it would just be chaos everywhere. So angels have no free will at all and Guardians have limited free will. It keeps things in check.

I like the idea of angels, but not the way we tend to see them in popular culture, like Roma Downey on Touched by an Angel or Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life. Nice angels. The angels in my story are great and terrible beings of celestial intent, and you really don’t want to meet one if you can help it. Biblical angels. They’re scary.

Humans can do whatever they want. They have total free will. That’s probably a scary idea to…well, anyone…seeing it for the first time. I can imagine angels and everyone else looking down going, “What the HELL have we done?!” Hence, Guardians. Partly under Divine control, but also able to relate to humans and their human condition.

Think of it like…you’re a loving parent, and you don’t want to smother your kids. You want them to make their own decisions, but at the same time you want them to make good decisions. In that spirit you find them a couple of quirky tutors, one who tells them to eat their vegetables and brush their teeth, and the other who gives them cake and ice cream before supper and teaches them how to make Molotov cocktails. Ultimately it’s the kids’ decision which tutor to listen to, and probably they’ll take a bit of wisdom from both and go through life somewhere in the middle.

 

Let’s talk about the ending a bit. You decided to have the story end on a cliffhanger—I turned my kindle page and went “What?!” So it succeeded. What was behind creating a cliffhanger ending rather than a wrap-up?

To wrap the story up the way I want to would’ve required…well, a whole other book! Obviously there’s a lot that’s going on with Jason now, and we don’t know what’s in store for Alex. Plus there’s still a ton of Alex’ history that I’d like to explore, and it would’ve felt awkward putting all that in Dark Man.

 

I assume there’s going to be a sequel, given the ending. Are there any other forthcoming books?

Yes! I’m working on the sequel now. There will be angels. There will be djinn. Lucifer will be back and wreaking all sorts of havoc. Jason will be wrestling with his fun new burdens. We’ll learn a lot more about Alex, including about Arad, the father of her son, and of course about Vanant, her son, himself. The structure will work like Dark Man—that is, flashbacks intercut with scenes from the present—and I really want to explore the parallels between Vanant’s story and Jason’s. They’re both “unique in creation,” as Jason so bitterly says, but their lives took very different paths.

So far the flashbacks take place in ancient Persia, because that’s where Arad’s story takes place. I’m not sure where the story will take me, because it’s always a surprise.

Meg Whitlock has been writing nearly all her life, and she’s glad she finally got over her laziness and wrote the book she’s been dreaming about for years. She graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a BA in Comparative Arts with an Art History specialization and an Ancient History minor…which is a mouthful no matter how you say it. She has four cats (including an invisible one), a car named Babar, and a vivid imagination.

In 2001 her one-act play, “The Shoebox,” was produced by Catawba College in Salisbury, NC and presented at the American College Theatre Festival. She was honored by Art:21 and the Mint Museum of Art for her essay “Kara Walker: Using Stereotypes to Provoke Thought,” and she’s won awards for both her fiction and non-fiction writing.

The Dark Man’s Son can be found at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Review: The Dark Man’s Son by Meg Whitlock

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Rating: Yay!

DarkMansSon-Final-fbWhen Jason gets mugged, he has no idea how much his life is about to change. Saved by a strange woman with an actual, swear-to-God sword is weird enough, but finding out his whole worldview is wrong is another.

We follow Jason as he discovers the truth about his parentage (hint: his dad isn’t human), and how he’s been drawn into a plan to free Lucifer from Hell. Not because he wants to, or because he’s evil, but because of his heritage.

Jason is a fun guy. It’s obvious he loves life and he’s just a normal dude, with that sort of sarcasm and verbiage we youngsters under 30 like to use.

Genre similarities aside, there are a few things which make this story unique. The first, and biggest, is this isn’t a battle between angels and demons, but a struggle for the Guardians, who are personified momentum for good and evil. They exist to maintain the struggle between good and bad, and to work as hard as they can to get their side to ‘win.’  Neither mortal nor angels, these beings are behind the scenes of many a historical turning point.

Which is one of the book’s strengths. We have three different viewpoints in this story: through the main storyline as it unfolds, occasional snippets of one character’s journal, and frequent historical flashbacks to important parts of the Guardians’ past.

This mix creates a well-rounded picture of everything going on, and most of the flashbacks are quite important to the story. There were a few I felt messed with the overall flow of the story, but the were still interesting and pertinent.

Another reason this book catapults itself squarely into a Yay is because of the viewpoint: third person omniscient. Although this was once a preferred storytelling method, it’s not been used so much in recent years. And it’s wonderful—it suits the story perfectly, and gave the book the feeling of coming home to a comfortable place, a story where I could come back again and again. Too many books try to choke themselves into a first person viewpoint, and it can really bring the quality of the storytelling down.

This combined with a lovely way with words really makes this novel shine.

My only real quibble with this novel is the ending. It ends on a cliffhanger, and that’s a gamble with books. People either love them, or hate them. And while I’m not a hater, I can say I was disappointed to find out I would have to wait for another story in order to find out how Jason and the others handle Lucifer’s scheme.

Hurry up with the next book, Meg. Some of us want to know what happens.

 

The Dark Man’s Son can be found at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

This Week’s Read: The Dark Man’s Son by Meg Whitlock

DarkMansSon-Final-fbShe claimed the muggers were demons, but of course Jason didn’t believe her. At first.

When a mysterious woman appears in a dirty alley to rescue Jason Latimer from a pair of muggers, he tries to write her off as a garden variety lunatic. But he can’t shake the memory of her intense green eyes that seemed to flash gold, or the glowing sword she’d worn on her hip.

She calls herself Alex (no last name) like she’d made it up on the spot, and she offers Jason her protection. From what, she can’t or won’t say. He refuses, and that night he dreams of a dark man with the same offer. His black eyes flash blood and garnet, and he smells of burning things. Jason refuses him, too.

A chance meeting brings Alex and Jason together again, and she tells him of the Guardians: two immortal beings created near the beginning of time with the express purpose of fighting for mortal-kind’s soul. She is Light, and the man from Jason’s dream is Dark. Jason must choose, because Lucifer, for reasons purely his own, has unleashed the armies of Hell to hunt Jason down.

But there are things about Jason that not even he knows, and he’ll face hard truths and bitter choices as he struggles to find his place in a world redefined. Will he rise to the challenge, or, when the time comes, will he falter?

From Renaissance Florence to the French Revolution, from World War II to the modern streets of New Orleans, The Dark Man’s Son is a riveting journey filled with unforgettable characters, wry humor, dark twists, and a touch of romance.

The Dark Man’s Son can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Author Interview – Carter Vance

Templa Cross for Author BioHappy Friday! Today we’re happy to have The Return author Carter Vance on the blog to answer a few questions about his book and what he’s up to.

For the folks at home, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am financial executive who has extensively studied prophecies, religions, relics, and the esoteric. I am originally from Chicago and love its architecture. I wanted to be a trader and I eventually wound up on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.

What compelled you to write about the Templars and Christ’s return?

Current world events inspired this story. The headlines read like the prophesized End Times. With everything going on in the world today, it is a possibility that we are living in the End Times. I wondered what if it was true? How might the Second Coming happen?

What if the Templars had never disbanded but had gone into hiding in order to fulfill their mission?

What do you feel The Return brings to the table that’s different from other books in this genre?

Most books about the End Times are either too religious, neglect the possibility of the Templars, or are just plain unrealistic. A lot of people actually think that Christ is just going to pop out of the sky. I take a more practical approach.

And, I drew upon rare, ancient, secret prophetic records in my possession that I had been trying to make sense of for years.

Did any of your research surprise you?

The most surprising thing was how many of theses prophesies began to mesh with one another the more I studied them.

What are you working on for the future?

It is a sequel to The Return and is about young Laz growing up.  As the second book in the series, it is about Laz realizing why He is here. There will be another book that addresses His entry into the world and fulfilling end time prophecies.

Thanks for taking the time to hang out with us, Carter!

If you’re interested in The Return, it’s available at Amazon.

Need more about Carter? Check out his website.

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