J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “fiction”

Release Day Blitz – The Hidden Children

~ Release Day Blitz ~

The Hidden Children (The Lost Grimoire #1)

by Reshma K.Barshikar

13th November 2018

About the Book:

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‘What price would you pay to be extraordinary? What would you do to speak to a butterfly? 

Shayamukthy cruises through life: shooting hoops, daydreaming and listening to her favourite books. Even moving from the US to India, to a new school, a new culture, hasn’t really rattled her. But something isn’t right anymore and it begins when ‘New Girl’ joins the school.

She pulls Shui into a world of magic and wonderment, a world she has been hidden from all her life. What starts as a quest to look for a lost book, hurtles Shui into a world where people live in trees, talk to the dead and speak to butterflies.

But like all power, magic comes at a steep price, and under all things wondrous lie demons waiting to crawl out. The more Shui learns, the more she doubts everything and everyone around her. 

Will she be able to master her powers, or will they devour her and everyone she loves?

 

Order Your Copy from AMAZON now!

 

Read an Excerpt:

I think I am ordinary. I lack purpose. Boohoo you think, typical teenager angst. But if I died tomorrow, it wouldn’t impact anyone’s life except my parents’. My friends, on the other hand, they have a life. See them there, yes there, to the right, next to the banyan tree behind the basketball court. You see a slightly pudgy boy and a beautiful girl? The boy’s name is Jai. The girl’s name is Nallini. Both have purpose. Jai wants to write comic books. He wants to be like Neil Gaiman or something, some famous comic-book guy. Nallini wants to be an actress, the next Deepika Padukone – that, and to win next year’s gold medal in Jujitsu.

She has absolutely no problems reconciling the inherent contradictions in both her desires.

I want nothing, need nothing, except something to need. I can’t see past today even to tomorrow; I have a hard enough time figuring out what I am now. I am not from a broken home, unless you count the fact that parts of the building I live in are falling apart. I am not poor, not like Anuki Chabria who got called out of her exam because her parents couldn’t pay her fees. I do not have acne bursting on my face, making me look like a human cheese grater. I am just, well, ordinary. So could you really blame me? Blame me for wanting to be special? Blame me for wanting to be fierce? To be like Storm from the X-Men, or like Beyoncé? When I look back now, at everything that has happened in the last few months, I realise I’m just as much to blame as her. The big question – well, it’s not a big question at all, really, because it’s all rubbish now, because you can’t go back. Even can’t go back. So the absurd question everyone around me seems to asking is – would I have acted differently, would I rather NOT be the person I am now?

No.

And neither would you. What price wouldn’t you pay to be extraordinary, to ride the wind, to float with unicorns, to be the one chosen…? Because, you see, I’ve gotten into some serious trouble and want to explain myself. I didn’t mean for things to happen. I didn’t mean for someone to die. So I ask you – wouldn’t you have said yes if someone said – ‘Do you want to learn how to speak to a butterfly?’ 

About the Author:

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Travel writer and novelist Reshma K Barshikar is an erstwhile Investment Banker who, as she tells it, ‘fell down a rabbit hole and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle.’ As a travel and features writer, she contributes to National Geographic Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, The Sunday Guardian, SilverKris, The Mint Lounge and The Hindu. Fade Into Red, published by Random House India was her debut novel and featured in Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers. She also holds well renowned workshops for young adults at both BDL Museum and Kala Ghoda and is keen to build a strong Young Adult reading and writing community to fill the desperate lack of young adult fiction in the Indian Market. Her new Young Adult novel, The Hidden Children, will be launching at the Vizag Junior Literary Festival. Reshma is from the ISB Class of 2003. She calls both Mumbai and the Nilgiris home. 

Contact the Author:

Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads

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Book Blitz – Freefall

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The deep-space transport ship, the Vera Rubin, is light years from Earth when botanist Elle Silver begins to question the use of their space-travel drug, HCH.  Elle notices a growing number of her friends and  fellow colonists awaken from their 90-day sleep cycles exhibiting a variety of negative side-effects and she begins to believe the drug is the culprit.  Some of the effects are minor, dry eyes and lack of appetite. Other symptoms are a bigger concern on a tiny ship packed with colonists.  With each sleep cycle completed, more and more colonists awaken both confused and barely concealing a simmering rage – rage that could be a catastrophe on a ship as crowded as the Vera Rubin.  Elle needs proof, but she also needs a plan. If the drug that allows them to travel deep-space is at fault, what then?  Elle and her friends Ashok, Achebe and Jin-Hai are pressed to their limits to find a solution to their problem before the ship erupts into chaos… with light years left to travel.

Find FREEFALL on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Freefall-Amalie-Noether-Chronicles-1/dp/1999408616/

https://www.amazon.in/Freefall-Amalie-Noether-Chonicles-Book-ebook/dp/B07GT6NJGD/

Guest Post

As a guest writer for a post on books – I thought that rather than talk about my novel, FREEFALL per se…. readers like yourself might be interested in how the book came to be written. I think when we discover a book that really engages us, we begin to believe that writers are some mythical beings with a special ‘secret’ ingredient that allows them to write.

This could not be further from reality in my case and in many other writers’ lives too. The only ‘secret’ ingredient I might possess is a dogged determination to get my story onto the page. I learned determination and persistence from my mother. My mother also seeded in all her daughters an absolute love of reading and storytelling. Although, I continue to be the only writer in our immediate family, my sisters actively read books and even lead book club discussion groups too.

Growing up in a household of females (my father deserted us) was pivotal to my central attitude about life. I believe that there is very little that a determined girl or woman cannot accomplish. As a child, there was no one to tell me ‘girls can’t do that’ OR if my sisters did say it – I immediately set out to prove them wrong. This attitude is woven into the story of FREEFALL throughout the book.

The other tenant of the book is the importance of curiosity. I spent a fair bit of time alone as a child, poking into things, exercising my curiosity about how things worked, why they worked and even sometimes dismantling things to find out if I could make them work again. My single mother had very little extra money to fix toys that were broken or even buy new ones. So all of us girls became adept at putting dolls back together, or gluing tea sets that got broken or putting wheels back on wagons to get them working again.

In the book Elle reminds herself that curiosity is a good thing, it can lead to new ideas and discoveries of importance that might have gone unnoticed by others who never asked the question ‘Why?’ Asking yourself why and then setting out to find the answer can lead to amazing things. As you will see, Freefall reflects core values that I hold that women are smart, capable and caring – and can do almost anything if they try.

My own sense of adventure stems from my curiosity about life here, on this planet – which led to speculation about life – out there in another corner of the universe. Another core belief of mine is that you don’t have to have a degree from a university to write and write well. What you do need is the desire to tell an engaging story. The best place to learn how to do that is from inside a book where you can read, read, and read.

Once you’ve read a fair number of books, start mentally sorting them out into the ones you liked and the ones that were just okay – but not spellbinding. And finally, what about the books you didn’t like? Stack them up, and then start thinking about the ones you liked – What did they have in common? Do the same mental exercise with the books you didn’t like – What did they have in common? You will learn as much about writing from what you didn’t like – as from what you did. Once you know what you like in a book, you’re ready to start writing your own story.

It’s important to write something you would enjoy reading yourself, because if you’re writing a novel you’ll be spending days and weeks and months in the world you’re creating. So it better be a place that you look forward to visiting – you owe it to yourself to make it so. I truly loved every minute of writing Freefall. The editing portion was a challenge for me – because it is a bit like cleaning the house; necessary and important but certainly not thrilling to do.

Freefall came into being because I love good Science Fiction and Fantasy – and I hoped to write a story worthy of some that I have read. Also Freefall came into being because I was persistent enough to sit down every morning before going to work (and sometimes after work too) to continue writing Elle’s adventures with her friends. I would spend hours thinking about what would happen next, so that I would have a focus for the next days writing. And then, when I was done with the first draft, I willingly put in more time to fix the things that needed fixing to make the story more clear and uncluttered.

And of course you must be wondering, ‘Have I started the sequel?” Of course I have! I can’t wait to see what happens next in the Amalie Noether Chronicles. I hope you will join me in reading FREEFALL. Be assured – Elle’s adventures will continue in space in the next volume of the series.

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Author Bio:

Jana Williams is certain that fiction can change people’s lives – especially women and girls.  Her own life is testimony to that fact.  One of five daughters, she was raised by a single-mom who placed a high value on reading and storytelling.

The ability to read, coupled with a child’s innate curiosity about the world, and access to books to satisfy that curiosity can offer significant opportunity to a child. Like most writers Jana has bounced from job to job, absorbing stories, cultures and customs as she worked.  She has been a high-speed motion picture photographer, a VFX coordinator, worked in the film industry, and the publishing trade as a book seller – a publisher’s rep and now an author.

But her first love is reading…. and with each book of the Freefall trilogy sold Jana will donate funds to Literacy agencies around the world whose work is to bring the joy of reading to others.

Enjoy a good adventure story and help others learn to read at the same time !

Find/Like Jana on Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/freefallthenovel/

Find Jana’s Writing advice – Twitter –  https://twitter.com/9YAVli0iT6ZZLTC

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Cover Reveal – The Hidden Children

~ Cover Reveal ~

The Hidden Children (The Lost Grimoire #1)

by Reshma K.Barshikar

‘What price would you pay to be extraordinary? What would you do to speak to a butterfly?

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Shayamukthy cruises through life: shooting hoops, daydreaming and listening to her favourite books. Even moving from the US to India, to a new school, a new culture, hasn’t really rattled her. But something isn’t right anymore and it begins when ‘New Girl’ joins the school.


She pulls Shui into a world of magic and wonderment, a world she has been hidden from all her life. What starts as a quest to look for a lost book, hurtles Shui into a world where people live in trees, talk to the dead and speak to butterflies.


But like all power, magic comes at a steep price, and under all things wondrous lie demons waiting to crawl out. The more Shui learns, the more she doubts everything and everyone around her.


Will she be able to master her powers, or will they devour her and everyone she loves?

Releasing on 10th November


About the Author:

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Travel writer and novelist Reshma K Barshikar is an erstwhile Investment Banker who, as she tells it, ‘fell down a rabbit hole and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle.’ As a travel and features writer, she contributes to National Geographic Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, The Sunday Guardian, SilverKris, The Mint Lounge and The Hindu. Fade Into Red, published by Random House India was her debut novel and featured in Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers. She also holds well renowned workshops for young adults at both BDL Museum and Kala Ghoda and is keen to build a strong Young Adult reading and writing community to fill the desperate lack of young adult fiction in the Indian Market. Her new Young Adult novel, The Hidden Children, will be launching at the Vizag Junior Literary Festival. Reshma is from the ISB Class of 2003. She calls both Mumbai and the Nilgiris home.

Contact the Author:

Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads

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Enchanted Waves by Ciara Lake

About the Book:

Enchanted Waves Cover

Tabitha Lock’s mundane life changes when her future walks out of the sea into her arms.

Attorney Tabitha Lock has put her career before everything, including her love life. Exhausted from too many late nights, early mornings, and endless days spent in court, Tabitha is at the end of her rope. Add to that the sensual dreams and voices that haunt her sleep, and she’s driven to the edge of her sanity.

Jax Aquila, Mer prince and son of Poseidon, is ordered to locate a mortal female in the twenty-first century. Although this woman is unaware of it, she has vampire heritage, but her immortality was forsaken to her due to the sins of her ancestor. Old hatred and prejudice toward vampires push Jax toward pursing his own agenda and avoiding his assigned task.

When Jax meets Tabitha, he has no idea this enticing woman is the one he was sent to find. The magic of their attraction drives him to pursue the beautiful woman. When he discovers the truth, can he accept Tabitha for what she is? And can Tabitha accept herself? As they struggle with the issues at hand, an ancient evil stirs, waiting in the darkness to reclaim their lost position among the immortals. When the evil ones make their move and Tabitha’s life hangs in the balance can Jax find her in time, or will she be lost to him forever?

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

Calypso’s breasts heaved with each breath she took beneath the supple black leather. Stretching out beyond the full-length windows, lightning ripped through the night sky as Calypso opened the french doors and stepped out onto the patio. The subtle glide of leather-overheated flesh sent shards of heat through her.

A fine shiver raced over her body and she gasped. Somewhere out there he waited…the culmination of all her lust. From behind her the sound of Angrail and his mate’s passion could be heard and it fired her own. Long denied, her lust stirred, slithering through her body like some beast she longed to kill.

She closed her eyes, the image playing across her mind… Sweat slicked skin heaved with each swing of a massive blade. Thin, black lines danced across his chest, swirling down into the curve of a hip, the bulge of his shaft behind his pants teasing her. Muscles bunched and flexed with each step, each blow. Powerful, deadly, his essence called to her, seduced her with its warmth and need.

Calypso stepped to the edge of the balcony and peered over the ornate banister. Beneath her the roaring of the falls drifted upward in a silvery cloud of noise and mist.

She glanced over her shoulder, her fists clenching with emotion. Centuries of service, of loyalty, had been rewarded with freedom, yet she didn’t yearn for such a gift. Nay, she yearned for what was beyond her. Angrail was content, he was loved, and out of her grasp. Accepting it hadn’t come easy, long nights of bitter envy and tears had come before she’d realized it was necessary.

Come to me. As soft as the wind playing with her braid, the whisper slipped through the chinks in her armor and shot straight to her heart.

With a soft sigh, Calypso hopped onto the banister and inhaled a breath. Arms outstretched, she stepped into mid-air, years of training and skill set in her muscles. Fresh, sweet wind flowed along her body, wrapping her in a warm shawl of familiarity. Without a sound, she landed on the rocks below, her knees folding beneath her as her body coiled in to brace itself.

About the Author:

Ciara

Welcome to Ciara Lake’s World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals And More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.

Contact the Author:

Website * Twitter * Goodreads

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Book Blitz – The Brotherhood of Merlin

About the Book:

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Merlin returns to Lycenea a hero, victorious over the Visi-Gauls in a gruesome and exhaustive campaign that claimed the life of one of his men and saw the annihilation of the Visi-Gauls’ Southern Army.

Merlin’s peaceful reprieve is cut short however, as he must now find and expose the corrupt Senator who initiated the war in the first place and plots to subvert the Empire for himself. He is aided by the powerful sorceress, Morgana and Felinius, a former disgraced and condemned knight who knows the inner workings of the Brotherhood.

Merlin must also protect two of the captives he rescued during the war with the Visi-Gauls, one of whom is a boy named Dante, whose power has been prophesized to defeat Herod Antipaz, the corrupt Senator, and his deadly allies who threaten to destroy Gilleon.

Herod makes plans of his own for eliminating Dante. The boy’s problems continue to mount precipitously- for not only is he being ruthlessly hunted down by Herod’s minions, but he must also face down a brutal training program in Round Table Academy, where he faces elimination on a daily basis. Should he be eliminated, he will no longer be under the protection of Merlin and his Brotherhood and his death almost a foregone conclusion.

His only hope, his only salvation is Merlin- as is the country of Gilleon.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Get Your Copy of Book One: Gilleon for FREE!

Check Out Book One: Gilleon

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Five hundred years after the death of King Arthur, a sadistic tyrant of Visi-Galia, attacks unprotected and vulnerable townships in Gilleon, igniting a deadly chain of events. Because he was unfairly denied a proper chance to compete for valuable mine rights and outbid by a Councilman from Gilleon, he reasons that he can invade Gilleon’s vulnerable townships and force the Council to negotiate with him.

Merlin, the lead knight in Lycenea, has foreseen just such a predicament. With the gifts of premonition, telepathy and intelligence, he and 9 of his most formidable knights go into battle against Jason and his force of nine thousand.

At stake is everything. The fate of the prisoners who are awaiting to be sold into slavery rests in the hands of the deadly knights. Specifically, two girls who were attacked in Missalia and are now orphaned, are at the mercy of the sadistic King. Will Merlin and his band of knights be able to rescue them in time?

Adele, the older sister, has plans of her own for escape. Will she prove successful or will her plans be foiled? If she is caught, what will become of her and her sister, Sylvia?

Dante, a boy from Coifen, is also now orphaned. He is the sole survivor of a brutal attack on his family. An unlikely heroine has come to his rescue- a mysterious white wolf. Unfortunately, the attack has left him blind. He and his guardian make their refuge in a remote cave. He clings desperately to the hope that God has spared him for a reason. Every night he goes to bed, he says a prayer to his talisman, the Merlin, a game piece that his father gave him before he was forced to abandon him. It was the last gift he received before all hell broke loose. Will he be rescued? Will he find a permanent haven? His fate also lies in the hands of the Merlin.

Merlin and his troupe lead the Visi-Gauls in a high stakes game of cat and mouse. Jason, though capricious, is not stupid. He uses every means at his disposal to eliminate Merlin. Who will prove the victor? Fighting a severe war of attrition, it seems at times that Jason will inevitably win; but don’t count the Merlin out. He is beyond slippery. Every time it seems that Jason has the gifted knight, he is thwarted yet again.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Character Study – Renault

     Deadly. Volatile. Vengeful. Sadistic. Cruel. Compassionate. Courageous. Heroic. He is a dedicated and loyal brother to the Merlin and a champion to the innocent and defenseless, but he also enjoys killing and watching his targets suffer as he inflicts agony on them before he finishes them off.  He is a walking contradiction and the right hand of the Merlin. When faced with an impossible mission, Merlin knows that he count on Renault to achieve his goals.

     Like Merlin, he is cunning, calculating, manipulative, resourceful and a master at strategy and logistics. He is also a telepath and can glean information from his targets. He should be a Godsend to Merlin but nothing is so simple.  

     Living in the relatively peaceful town of Helganon with his family, Renault clings to his peaceful reprieve in between his deadly missions for the Merlin. But with his volatile temper and his urge to protect the innocent at all costs, his demons push him closer to the brink, alienating himself in the process.

     When Renault’s temper pushes him past the threshold of composure, he lashes out and makes enemies not only among his own trusted brethren but also on both sides of a dangerous feud between the Ostra-Gauls and the Sene-Gauls. And so he finds himself in a desperate circumstance with the walls beginning to close around him.

     Will Renault’s demons push him too far, making him a liability among his brethren? Will his dire circumstances invade his own peaceful refuge at home with his beloved family? When Merlin’s own dire circumstances necessitate the need for Renault and his skill set, will he be ready?

About the Author:

Rory D Nelson

Author Rory D Nelson is an accomplished actor and has been seen in several high school productions of “Oedipus Rex,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” He owns a window cleaning business in the Sacramento area, enjoys wine tasting, snowboarding, traveling and working out. Rory D Nelson is an eclectic and prolific writer, having written numerous comedy skits, commercial parodies, and ghost-written many humorous t-shirts. He has the most unusual imagination of any fantasy author, since he also brings his deranged sense of humor into play in his books.

Contact the Author:

Website * The Brotherhood of Merlin * Facebook * Twitter 

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Book Review: The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm

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I recently read this book and wrote a review about it, which is posted below. But first, here is an excerpt from the novel.

About the Book

Book Cover

“The metal horned unicorns are doomed!” That’s what Lauda Lead Horn wailed when she first saw the tribe’s new savior. OK, so his horn was not metal. . .and he did not have a magic power. . .and he was really a puny little runt. But doomed? Were things really that bad? 

Well, things were pretty bad in the land of MarBryn. Magh, an evil sorcerer utilized unicorn horns and hooves to create his magical potions and spells. Those he used, to increase his power and to conquer everyone in his path. All of the unicorns from the Tribe of the Metal Horn were now gone . . . except for twelve survivors. 

Before the blue unicorn was born, Numen told Alumna, the aluminum-horned oracle, that he had a plan to bring the tribe back home to Unimaise. His prophecy was, “Only the blue unicorn can join with the Moon-Star. Until then, no new unicorns will be born.” Blue was the last unicorn born. Twenty years later, his horn was still covered with a plain blue colored hide. There was not a glint of metal to be seen on it or his hooves. And he still didn’t have any magic. But he was no longer scrawny and he had his wits. Though no one else in the tribe thought he had a chance, Blue felt ready to make Magh pay for his evil deeds. And he went off to do it alone. That was Blue’s first mistake. If the entire tribe was not standing horn-tip to horn-tip at the proper time and the exact place to help usher the Moon-Star Spirit into Blue’s horn, he would die. Then, the rest of the tribe would really be doomed. 

Readers will follow along two journey paths in this book. Blue is joined in his travels by his mentor Gaiso, the Stag and his friend, Girasol the Firebird as they try to find their way across a danger-filled MarBryn to Muzika Woods. The rest of Blue’s tribe is forced to follow another route due to Nix Nickle Horn’s unfortunate incident with a Manticore. Nix, the great unicorn defender must safely lead the way for Ghel, the Golden-Horned unicorn; Silubhra Silver Horn; Cornum the Brass-Horned unicorn; Steel Horned Style; Cuprum the Copper-Horned unicorn; Tin-Horned Tinam; Dr. Zinko; Iown the Iron-Horned unicorn and the others in an action packed adventure to their destination in Muzika Woods. Both journey paths converge there in the Nebulium Circle.

Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

About the Author

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I’m Sybrina. . .. . .Just one of millions of wannabe author/singer/songwriters out there but I hope, after reading or hearing my books and songs, you’ll think my contributions to the world have as much value as any other famous artist out there today.

Fame is all in being in the right place at the right time but at least with the internet and venues like this, all of us have opportunities to share our creativity with the world. I’m so happy that I am able to share my works with you. That is awesome!

The books I’ve written span a wide range between illustrated picture books, coloring books and YA novels to technical and how-to books. If you’re so inclined you can read a little bit about the inspiration for each one below.

My latest effort is “The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm. It is a book I started writing 30 something years ago and never finished. At the time, it was meant to be an epic fantasy along the lines of novels written by Tolkien, Piers Anthony, Ursula K. Le Guin and other amazing fantasy writers. I’ve pulled out my notes, dusted off the outline and began rewriting and expanding upon the 50 pages I had began. This story is now available as an Illustrated Book for teens and older readers in full color and in black and white, too. The black and white version is a “Read and Color” book. Read a chapter, then color the following pages. How fun is that? There is also a picture book for pre-schoolers called Unicorns From Unimaise – The Magical Metal-Horn Trobe. A longer version of the chapter book will soon be available as an Illustrated Novel with a companion glossary called, The Marbryn Compendium. All of the fantastic fantasy illustrations are by Dasguptarts. There is also a companion coloring/character description book, edited by Calyie Martin. It will introduce potential readers to the myriad of characters, places and things in the story.

Website * Twitter * Goodreads

My Review

I really loved this book! From MarBryn to Unimaise, this enchanting book kept me enthralled to the very end. The writing was captivating, and author Sybrina Durant included enough description so that I could envision each individual creature, as well as the mystical land of MarBryn. The artwork throughout the book is creative and colorful, and artist Dasguptarts has a unique, distinctive style that defines the novel. I also liked the options at the end of the book, so that readers can purchase coloring books, a picture book, and various other merch in relation to the series. The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm was so imaginative that I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy fiction.

“The Unity Game” Is Science Fiction With Philosophy

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WHAT IF THE EARTH YOU KNEW WAS JUST THE BEGINNING?

A New York banker is descending into madness.

A being from an advanced civilization is racing to stay alive.

A dead man must unlock the secrets of an unknown dimension to save his loved ones.

From the visions of Socrates in ancient Athens, to the birth of free will aboard a spaceship headed to Earth, The Unity Game tells a story of hope and redemption in a universe more ingenious and surprising than you ever thought possible.

Metaphysical thriller and interstellar mystery, this is a ‘complex, ambitious and thought-provoking novel’ from an exciting and original new voice in fiction.

Goodreads * Amazon

Reviews for The Unity Game

“A complex, ambitious and thought-provoking novel.” ~~ Kirkus Reviews

“Elegantly written, expertly crafted and a moving message. I found this book very hard to put down. Moving and poignant.” ~~ Lilly, Amazon US reviewer

“An engrossing, unique, and totally bizarre tale! I could not stop reading it once I started. Such a beautiful take on the afterlife, and its connection to those still living. A unity game, indeed!”~~ Brenna, Goodreads reviewer

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About the Author

Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm.

In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity.

During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development.

In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.

Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.

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Facebook

Twitter

Writing about violence as a peaceful person

Whatever kind of writer you are, your books will have characters that span the range of human emotions. Love, passion, bravery, fear, anger, elation, jealousy, despair, hope – during an author’s lifetime, the people who come to play their parts in the pages your tales will experience all of these. And somewhere along the lines, two men will fight a duel over a lady, or a mother will defend her children by killing a zombie with a sawn-off shotgun, or a soldier will take her first shot into enemy territory.

For better or worse, violence is a part of the society around us – albeit the very worst part, and a part that many people struggle to avoid and rid from our civilization. And yet, that can make it even more appealing as a subject to a writer, as it fits so well into the larger story of Good vs. Evil. Violence is a manifestation of evil; or it is an incredible act of heroism; or it is instinctive self-defense. There are many forms and threads that physical harm can take.

As a deeply peaceful person, I had not expected to find myself writing about violence of any kind. I have never been subjected to it, short of witnessing some street incidents in big cities, and my experience has been from second-hand observation of the society around us. When I read books, I try as much as possible to avoid descriptions of violence, and it is the one subject that will cause me to skip forward a few pages, if I think that the depictions of dreadful acts will root too deeply into my head and I will be struggling to purge them for years. Films, also, are often hard for me to watch, and I will happily turn something off if it is crossing my line of comfort, or even walk out of a movie theatre (Clockwork Orange and Kill Bill to date).

And yet, in my second novel, The Unity Game, my main character decided to kill. The novel is a metaphysical thriller with elements of sci-fi, and the murder had layers of meaning beyond the physical act, and yet I found myself easily writing this scene that in another book might horrify me. When I came to the editing stage, I considered re-writing the plot and removing it. And yet I couldn’t. My character had committed this deed, and I had to follow the consequences of the person who had manifested themselves in the pages before me. The murder stayed.

Later, as I thought about what I had written, and the actions of my character, I realized that it was perhaps because of my stance as a peaceful person, dedicated to bringing positivity to the world, that I had been drawn to explore this topic. How could someone be drawn to violence? How is it possible for human beings, who are born in total vulnerability to loving parents, come to shed blood, to harm, or to take other lives? If I was truly committed to my peaceful stance on the world, then I had to understand the motives and threads that draw someone into this mindset. And this is what I had done with my main character. I had explored a topic that I was fascinated by, in order to comprehend the situation I cared about.

The ease with which I wrote the scene, and with which my character turned to violence shocked me. When I was creating the events, I was inside my character’s head, and yet surely I was simultaneously tapping into a deep part of myself – the part that every human being has that is capable of violence.

The experience of this humbled me, and made me even more dedicated to understanding the causes violence in our world. In my next novel perhaps I will continue to explore this topic that is so relevant in modern society – and at the same time, seek for solutions in the pages of my books, and in the world around me.

 

Another 5-Star Review!

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My new novel, A Rebel Among Us, received another 5-star review! I’m so excited that I had to share. If you would like to review my book, please let me know and I’ll get an e-book sent out to you!

Format: Kindle Edition

For a girl who likes history, reading about life during the Civil War was just icing on the cake for this sweet romance. The story really was engaging and well written, and I could picture myself in that time period. Very well researched and detailed, and it was pretty honest of how slaves and freed men were treated back then. I don’t know why this stuck with me, but in other fiction books I’ve read of the Civil War, when it came to the issue of slaves, the South was bad and the North was good and treated all freed slaves as free white men, which wasn’t always the case.

It begins with a family of girls in Union territory finding a Confederate soldier injured, and how they nurse him back to health. The oldest sister gets him to stay one time, then asks him to stay longer with a proposition. Great story line and the characters were all likable. While Anna and David were the main characters, Maggie, the younger sister, and Patrick, a neighbor, helped make the story better.

I loved this book! It’s a longer book, so she has the time to work in details from her research. This was the first book I’ve ready by J.D.R. Hawkins, and I look forward to reading more historical pieces from this author.

Books by Simi K. Rao on Tour

Inconvenient Relations (Inconvenient Relations #1) by Simi K. Rao

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Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.

This multi-cultural contemporary romance story of an arranged marriage is a beautiful blending of showing the Indian and American cultures. Readers will learn more about the Indian heritage and the romance that happens behind closed doors in an Indian relationship in Simi K. Rao’s Inconvenient Relations. This coming of age story about true love explores multi-cultural issues.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24355815-inconvenient-relations

http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/1505694582/

Reviews for Inconvenient Relations:

As a whole this was a brilliant novel. Rao walks the line between traditional Indian culture and all that is Hollywood to create a tale that will pull at your heartstrings and keep you captivated throughout. ~ Jonel Boyko

It was a beautifully timed love story and I enjoyed it. I also loved the way the author interspersed the language throughout the story. It made me feel connected to the culture. ~ Jazmen This Girl Reads A lot

This book is a complete package of love, hate, distrust, betrayal and every other emotions that we feel. ~ Souwmiya

Now and Forever (Inconvenient Relations #2) by Simi K. Rao

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Can Shaan and Ruhi face their biggest fears and unite together?

Shaan and Ruhi Ahuja, very much in love Indian newlyweds, discover each other in Simi K. Rao’s Now and Forever—the sassy and sexy sequel to Inconvenient Relations. After getting the scare of their lives while traveling in the Grand Canyon, Shaan and Ruhi go back home to one dilemma after another. Shaan’s job is in jeopardy, and one of Ruhi’s closest friends, Sunshine, needs her. How will Shaan and Ruhi handle life’s hurdles, while still trying to get to know each other as husband and wife? Will they be able to forsake all others and consolidate their relationship?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32543951-now-and-forever

http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/1539394476/

About the Author

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Simi K. Rao was born and grew up in India before relocating to the U.S., where she has lived for several years. The inspiration for her books, and other projects, comes from her own experience with cross-cultural traditions, lifestyles and familial relationships, as well as stories and anecdotes collected from friends, family and acquaintances. 

Rao enjoys exploring the dynamics of contemporary American culture blended with Indian customs and heritage to reflect the challenges and opportunities many Indian-American women face in real life.

Much of Rao’s down time is devoted to creative pursuits, including writing fiction, poetry and photography. She is an avid traveler and has visited many locations around the world.

A practicing physician, Rao lives in the United States with her family.

http://simikrao.com/

https://www.facebook.com/simikrao

https://twitter.com/simikrao

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7169786.Simi_K_Rao

Trivia, Random Facts

Who says science and art cannot coexist. They can and Simi K Rao is a living example. She is a practicing physician who is also an author. Writing fiction fulfills her creative urge while her profession keep the home fires burning. She has managed to pen four books so far– Inconvenient Relations, The Accidental Wife, Milan (A Wedding Story) and her latest Now and Forever– the sequel to Inconvenient Relations. Except Milan all are works of contemporary romance written from the Indian American perspective. In the future, she hopes to take on more challenging projects. She lives in Denver, USA with her family.

Random facts about Simi in her own words

  1. I have a dual personality. I exist in two worlds at the same time. It can get quite confusing.
  2. Writing is a stress buster for me. I write for myself rather than anyone else.
  3. My heroines can be pig headed, rash and violent. I think they learn their traits from me.
  4. My stories are occasionally clichéd just like life is sometimes- banal and boring.
  5. My books are not just for women. Men should read them too. They can get a few pointers on what women want.
  6. I believe cuss words are a means of expression. Used appropriately they can be very effective.
  7. I also believe that at any time there are two conversations going on. The nonverbal one happens to be more interesting.
  8. I credit my Dad for my fondness of the written word. By giving me books instead of toys he gave me the best gift ever.
  9. Writing helps me stay lucid while reading blurs my cynicism—two traits vital for day to day life.
  10. Be warned; I’m one of the least interesting people you’ve met. So move on and forget about me. Just read my books.

Other Books by the Author

25158346  26212981

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25158346-the-accidental-wife https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26212981-milan

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Giveaway:

1)  A $10 Amazon gift card

2) A kindle copy each of Inconvenient relations and Now and Forever. 

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New Book Out on Blog Tour

Today I’m featuring a new YA novel that is doing a blog tour, titled Tweenache in the Time of #ashtags, by Judy Balan. It looks like a fun read, so check it out! Here’s some more information about it. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway contest! (The link is at the bottom of this post.)

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Book Blurb:

#Tweenache101: First, there’s PMS (it’s real and it’s painful and can someone please make it stop?). Second, there’s #The Boy. Yes, that’s right. The BOY. And third, there’s a #New Dad in the picture. Actually, he’s an old dad, but if Nina’s never met him before, he totally counts as new, right? And worst of all, there’s the #Nerd Wars. There’s a new nerd in the classroom – and she might be even nerdier than Nina.

THIS. CAN’T. BE. GOOD.

From the author of How To Stop Your Grownup From Making Bad Decisions, here’s another hilarious season in the life of #NinaThePhilosopher.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Website |

JudyBalan

About the Author:

Judy Balan is the overthinking parent of an overthinking child. Reality overwhelms her at times, which is why she enjoys making stuff up. She loves reading, watching and writing comedy. How to Stop Your Grownup from Making Bad Decisions was her first attempt at writing for non-grownups. She enjoyed it so much she decided to make it a series and call it Nina the Philosopher because over-thinking tweens deserve their own series. For more on Judy and her writing, hop over to judybalan.com or check out Nina’s blog ninathephilosopher.com.

10 Random Facts About The Author:

  1. Judy Balan is the over-thinking parent of an over-thinking child.
  1. Reality overwhelms her at times, which is why she enjoys making stuff up.
  2. When she’s not writing novels, she’s fighting and making up with her daughter, heading the creative team at Raising iBrows (formerly), an audience engagement agency, and eating too much Nutella.
  1. One of Judy’s favourite pastimes is reading too many articles on alternative parenting styles and confusing her even more.
  1. Another favourite pastime is observing and analysing everything and everyone, including herself.
  1. This is her second book for children, but she hopes to write many more (hopefully, stories with orcs, dragons and such. This book can be read as a Stand-Alone, but reading the first one in the series is highly recommended!
  1. Her previous books were the bestselling Two Fates: The Story of My Divorce and Sophie Says: Memories of a Breakup Coach and How to Stop Your Grownup from Making Bad Decisions. Both these books were for grownups.
  1. This book is NOT about her life although she’s a single parent too and Nina was inspired by her daughter, Kiara.
  1. As a child, Judy was in a big hurry to grow up, but now she wants to tell all children to slow down because adulthood isn’t going anywhere. Apparently.
  1. Judy loves hearing from her readers, so you can email her at balan.judy@gmail.com. If you’re over eighteen, you can check out her website too at http://www.judybalan.com .

Stalk Links:

Facebook  | Twitter  | Website | Goodreads |

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