Wednesday, December 30, 2015

CAST YOUR CHARACTERS: Dragon's Honor by Michaela Kendrick



AUTHOR: Michaela Kendrick


The Warlord...

From high society banquets in the ice covered skyscrapers of New Arizona, to the most far-flung outposts at the edge of human-occupied space, everyone has heard of Ymir. The Alliance's reach is wide, and its soldiers are well trained, but there are always despots powerful enough to assert themselves, and Ymir has been one of the most notable failures of human history: a whole planet given over to a man known only as the Warlord.

The soldier…

Cade Williams was once a Dragon—the most elite fighting unit in known space. Precise, brutal, and unstoppable, they were a last resort in the lawless wastes of space colonization. But there was a price: in one horrific mission, Cade’s unit took down not only a slave trader, but an entire intergalactic carrier. Cade left and never looked back. Haunted by his past, he’s vowed never again to kill, never again to fight, and, filling jobs from dock worker to bartender, he’s managed to keep that vow. But Cade’s life is about to be turned upside down. Because when at last he runs out of options, his old friend Talon Rift appears out of nowhere. Talon, the man who ordered him to take down the carrier. Talon, who wants him to get back in the game. And when Cade won’t, Talon has a job opportunity he seems to know Cade can’t afford to pass up. Protect a woman. An innocent. Remarkably little chance of anything going wrong. And a man needs to eat.

And the trophy wife…

There are two problems: first, that Cade hates Aryn the moment he lays eyes on her; second, that he wants her like he’s never wanted anyone before in his life. Or make that three problems: Aryn’s fiancé is a weapons trafficker with a well-deserved reputation for being ruthless, and Aryn is about to get caught up in one of his schemes - one that will bring her back to the place she only just escaped...the mines of Ymir.

Henry Cavill as CADE WILLIAMS

A former Dragon who has sworn never to take up arms again.

Astrid Berges-Frisbey as ARYN BERANEK
A former resistance fighter on Ymir, now married to Ellian Pallas

Julian McMahon as ELLIAN PALLAS
An arms trafficker supplying the Warlord of Ymir

Analeigh Tipton as SAMARA
A resistance fighter on Ymir, and Aryn's best friend

Tyler Hoechlin as TALON RIFT
A Dragon, and Cade's former commanding officer

Alice Braga as NYX
A Dragon

Raised on the Dragon Riders of Pern, Star Wars, Star Trek, and a whole bunch of historical romances, Michaela Kendrick grew up adoring the adventure of Science Fiction and the passion of a good love story. Filled with double crossing, grand romantic gestures, sarcasm, and plenty of heat, Michaela's books are just the sort of thing she wants to read herself!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

CHALLENGE: Book Bingo 2016 at Girls, Guns, and Grimoires on Goodreads


I'm participating in Book Bingo 2016 at Girls, Guns, and Grimoires on Goodreads. I'll update my progress all this year. Below are the categories.

By the way, is it cheating if I use one of my books coming out next year to clear a square? ;)

Read: 3/16

1. With more than 500 pages
2. That has been on your TBR list for more than two years
3. With red on the cover - IN PERFECT HARMONY by Alayne Adams (2/2016)
4. That has been recommended to you
5. You have borrowed
6. A genre that you have never read
7. A book with a lion, a witch or a wardrobe
8. A GG&G must read
9. That is not set on earth
10. Set in the past - THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X by Eloisa James (1/2016)
11. With an animal on the cover
12. With less than 100 pages
13. Male POV
14. That scares you
15. That is romantic - LIFE IN THE NO DATING ZONE by Patricia Tighe (1/2016)
16. Set in the future

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

CAST YOUR CHARACTERS: Codename: Night Witch (The Girls from Alcyone) by Cary Caffrey


"Here's my edition of CAST YOUR CHARACTERS. Benedict Cumberbatch? Carice van Houten? Michelle Yeoh? Come on! This one's a slam dunk." - Cary Caffrey

CODENAME: NIGHT WITCH (The Girls from Alcyone)

AUTHOR: Cary Caffrey

DESCRIPTION: I like to think of Codename: Night Witch as a love story. A love story with guns. And stabbing weapons.

Night Witch continues the story of an incredible heroine, Sigrid Novak, a five-foot one (and one half inch, thank you) powerhouse of a character.

The story begins with Sigrid waking to find herself a prisoner in an abandoned research facility. She doesn't know where she is, or how she got there. She doesn't even know if her lover - who she last saw bleeding to death on the field of battle - is even alive. What Sigrid soon discovers is that many, many years have passed since the events of Bellatrix (book two). The world she awakens to is not the place she left. This is a world embroiled in war. Tens of thousands of the Federation's ruling elite are dead, major military facilities destroyed. With every corporate enclave that falls, the legend grows. They call her the Night Witch. A champion to some, a nightmare for others. Wherever she goes, death is soon to follow.

No one knows who this Night Witch is, though Sigrid is starting to suspect.

Lost and alone, and with only the voices in her head for company, Sigrid sets out to learn the truth, and to settle a deadly score once and for all.

Elle Fanning as (teenage) SIGRID NOVAK
Adelaide Clemens as (adult) SIGRID NOVAK

Sigrid: The love child of Lt. Commander Worf and Buffy Summers.

Rila Fukushima as SUKO TANSHO
Every hero needs her champion. Suko will always have Sigrid's back.

Is there anyone else who could play the brilliant matriarch of Alcyone? Hell no!

Benedict Cumberbatch as HARRY JONES
The ultimate puppet master, and the only person crazy enough (or capable enough) to try to capture Sigrid, and to control her and use her for his own purposes. I'm already loving Benedict in this role.

We never really knew what was driving Harry to do the things he did. At least, not until we met Emily. Villainess, or the real hero of the story? You decide.

The "Red Woman" as the magistrate? Slam dunk casting choice! Bloodthirsty, cold and calculating, the magistrate of the Consortium is the ultimate bureaucrat. Who better to play her than the awesome Carice.

Michael Cudlitz as JAFFER
Not the simple transport driver he might seem.

Peter Cushing as BERNAT WEREME (aka Smith/Harry Jones)
Lets' face it. Peter Cushing, circa 1965, would have killed it as Harry Jones.

Cary Caffrey is the author of the best selling Girls from Alcyone trilogy. When not staring at blank pages and blinking cursors, Cary can always be found devouring all things pop culture. Current obsessions include Jessica Jones, Lara Croft and, for better or for worse, Star Wars. Has JJ ever made a good movie? We're about to find out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

CAST YOUR CHARACTERS: Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke



AUTHOR: Kealan Patrick Burke

DESCRIPTION: At first glance, Phil Pendelton and his son Adam are just an ordinary father and son, no different from any other. They take walks in the park together, visit county fairs, museums, and zoos, and eat together overlooking the lake. Some might say the father is a little too accommodating given the lack of discipline when the child loses his temper in public. Some might say he spoils his son by allowing him to eat candy whenever he wants and set his own bedtimes. Some might say that such leniency is starting to take its toll on the father, given how his health has declined.

What no one knows is that Phil is a prisoner, and that up until a few weeks ago and a chance encounter at a grocery store, he had never seen the child before in his life.

A new novella from the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of THE TURTLE BOY and KIN.

Phil is an average guy, average looks, average job, and he's perfectly fine with the status quo. An unwillingness to be a father cost him his first marriage. His refusal to accept the strange child who appears from nowhere claiming to be his son might cost him everything else.

Noah Wiseman as ADAM PENDLETON
Although Phil sees this "cuckoo child" as an invasive force in his life, there is little that's outwardly sinister about the young boy. He simply wants to be treated like any other child, even if behind it all, he isn't one.

Cortez is a good cop with a lousy homelife and it has given him a harder edge when dealing with people than is necessary, though sometimes the light breaks through and he feels empathy, especially when dealing with a man who claims his son is an imposter. Cortez's instincts are so fine-tuned that he knows all is not what it appears to be.

If her partner Cortez is hard-edged, then Detective Marsh is a guillotine and one can only hazard a guess at the life she has endured that has made her so outwardly hostile to pretty much everyone. There exists in her a certain emotional cavity that makes her open to influence, and not of the good kind.

Alex Essoe as LORI
Lori is everything to Phil that his ex-wife wasn't, the typical adventurous free spirit lonely men seek out after a turbulent divorce. She is young, successful, ambitious, playful...which makes it all the more tragic when their lives together are altered by inexplicable forces.

Born and raised in Dungarvan, Ireland, Kealan Patrick Burke is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of five novels, over a hundred short stories, six collections, and editor of four acclaimed anthologies.

Kealan has worked as a waiter, a drama teacher, a mapmaker, a security guard, an assembly-line worker at Apple Computers, a salesman (for a day), a bartender, landscape gardener, vocalist in a grunge band, and, most recently, a fraud investigator.

When not writing, Kealan designs covers for print and digital books through his company Elderlemon Design. To date he has designed covers for books by Richard Laymon, Brian Keene, Scott Nicholson, Bentley Little, William Schoell, and Hugh Howey, to name a few.

In what little free time remains, Kealan is a voracious reader, movie buff, videogamer (Xbox 360, PS4, and PC), and road-trip enthusiast.

A movie based on his short story "Peekers" is currently in development through Lionsgate Entertainment.

Monday, November 09, 2015

INTERVIEW: Tomahawk Talk Where Are They Now: Heidi Ruby MIller


I am the featured alum for Uniontown Area High School's newspaper in the Where Are They Now column. It's a nice look back at who I was then and who I am in 2015. Much thanks to The Tomahawk Talk and Christina Hebda!

Here's a sneak peek:

TT: How would you describe yourself in five words or less?

HRM: “Living well on my terms”

TT: Do you have any advice for seniors here at UHS, or any of the underclassman?
HRM: “I believe that an optimistic person is a magnet for pleasurable experiences. So work on developing a positive attitude now to save you from bitterness later.”


Thursday, November 05, 2015

BOOK: Firefly (Ice Born: Book One) by P. M. Pevato


FIREFLY (Ice Born: Book One)

Most residents of the quiet alpine town of Snow Valley would scoff at the idea of witches in their midst, yet a deadly war rages beneath the surface as witch hunters stalk the local coven.

The hunted—a coven of teen witches just emerging into their full talents. The hunters—a family of immortal witch hunters assigned to assimilate, infiltrate, and eliminate the coven.

Teenage witch Emeranne Goode, or Ems, has a recurring dream in which she follows her beloved fireflies as they shimmer and dance toward the forest. She finds a boy, lying on the ground but sees only his gray eyes glowing a silvery sheen at night.

Witch hunter Bennett Bassett remembers nothing of his mortal life. Torn between his human values, buried deep within, and his heartless duties as a witch hunter, Bennett and his family hold the fate of the Snow Valley Coven in their hands.

Ems and Bennett’s growing affection for one another is doomed from the start: she is the hunted and he is the hunter. Can they survive impossible odds and opposing forces, forces determined to keep them apart?

In the tiny alpine Village of Snow Valley, the dark forest holds many secrets, secrets of unsolved murders and shocking betrayals.

The first book in an exciting series, Secrets of Snow Valley, Firefly peels away the layers of secrets hidden within the sleepy little alpine valley to reveal the dark histories and solve the even darker mysteries that lie beneath the surface and pit the coven and their protectors against the witch hunters.


A flâneur at heart, P. M. Pevato constantly seeks new experiences whilst strolling down the boulevards of life. Along this journey, the author earned degrees from Dalhousie Law School and the London School of Economics.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

CAST YOUR CHARACTERS: Finish Him (The Games of Love) by Deanna Dee


FINISH HIM (The Games of Love)



Sonya Black never expected a petty sibling quarrel could lead to her sister being drugged. Overcome with guilt, Sonya vows to bring the jerk to justice. When she dives into her own investigation, she lands belly up in the company of Jaxon Nyles, the security guard who may have all the answers.

But being a detective isn’t as easy as Sonya thinks. On top of that, Jaxon always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Is he a suspect, or is he falling for her? More important, is she falling for him?

The round has begun. Who will flirt? Who will win? Will hearts break in the process?

Holland Roden as SONYA BLACK
Sonya is the leading lady of Finish Him. She doesn’t trust easily and starts out making snap judgments. She gets better, though, and if you ever wanted someone in your corner, Sonya’s your girl.

Dave Franco as JAXON NYLES
Jaxon is the leading man. He’s strong (both physically and otherwise), dependable, and kind. He’s got a thing for helping people, and he’s cute, too. Where Sonya’s all sharp edges, Jaxon’s more pliable. It works for them.

Bethany is Sonya’s party-happy older sister who has three kids and more skimpy clothes than anyone could ever need. She’s actually not very nice to Sonya at all, but read on. Things may not be as they seem, after all.

Parker is Sonya’s closest male friend. He’s the oddball among oddballs. He’s the geek the geeks are a little embarrassed of. But they keep him around because, under all the weird, there’s a heart of gold and a guy who’d do anything for his friends. He’s kind of Sonya’s partner in anti-crime in Finish Him, and the two make a great team in a completely platonic manner.

Kat Dennings (if she dyed a chunk of her hair purple and went goth) as DAWN DELTA-RAY
Dawn is the combat boot-wearing, motorcycle-riding, black belt-wearing girl. She’s the one you send in when you need an ass kicked. Despite her tough exterior, Dawn, like Parker, has a bit of a mushy center (though, don’t tell her I said that).


Deanna Dee is strictly human and does not, to her knowledge, own a hyena. She lives by the sea, which she takes full advantage of in the summer time. Nerd culture and pop culture make up the shameless downtime of her life. The rest of it is writing, and she’s okay with that. She writes The Games of Love series, which includes her debut novel, Critical Hit-On, One Fling to Rule Them All, and Finish Him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Linda Ciletti



1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I love all my characters, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Draegon in “Draegon’s Lair”. His external struggle is life-threatening. His internal struggle is palpable. Throughout the story, his lady ward teaches him to see himself as he truly is and not what he thinks he is. My heart actually hurt for him, but I knew it would all turn out okay. (smiles)

2. Tell me about your travels.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Tea. Especially in colder weather. I love to sit down with a good book, a cup of hot tea, and a piece of fudge, lady lock, or cookie (none of which I need.) and read. I do recommend not holding your teacup in bed while reading. After nodding off and dumping an entire cup of tea on my white down comforter, I have since learned to sip, then sit the cup on the nightstand before turning the page.

4. What else can you do besides write?
So many things and so little. I was an educational program coordinator for many years until budget cuts did away with my position. I used to oil paint, sketch, and play guitar. I like to sing, though not professionally, and will do so for a small audience on very rare occasions. I’m happy when I’m being creative. Writing is one creative outlet for me. Another is being a merchant in a virtual world. My store is called Chez Fayre (my avatar is named Fayre), and through her I create virtual clothing for medi-fantasy role players (Victorian, medieval, gypsy, elven, fairy, hobbit, and some beach wear). I also create peasant and highborn medieval furnishings, beach house furnishings, Victorian furnishing, fantasy dwellings, and the occasional avatar. It’s fun, it’s time consuming, and it’s very addictive.

5. Who are you reading right now?
I’ve just finished reading “For My Lady’s Heart” by Laura Kinsale. This is an older book of hers that I’m re-reading because I love the characters, the torn hero, and the strong medieval prose and dialog. Writing and reading is all about the characters for me.

6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
Sex scenes are the scenes I struggle with most because I want them to fall naturally in the story, I want them real and not mechanical, and I want them full of emotion, which is more important to me than the actual coupling. How much is too much? How much is too little? I know I can’t please everyone, so I write them to please myself and hope I’ve found just the right balance. I absolutely will not insert one just to up the sex scene count. The characters tell me when it’s time.

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. The inspiration for two of my books came from music. “Dream of the Archer” was inspired by a song of the same name by Abba. Funny how one can take a minute and a half song and turn it into a full length novel. My current WIP was inspired by the music of Cast in Bronze. He plays the carillon (a medieval bell instrument) at Renaissance Faires, as well as other places. One year I was enjoying faire food for lunch (my favorite soup in a bread bowl) and listening to him play. Suddenly I was struck. I quickly pulled a small note pad from my purse and frantically began jotting down tiny indecipherable notes. I found (and still find) his music fantastical, and so “Faerie Dust” was born. I hope to have it out soon. The first of a faerie fantasy series.

9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
The biggest influence on my work has been my own heart and all the romantic fairytales I’d read as a child. I’m still a knight in shining armor and damsel in distress kind of person, though sometimes the damsel saves the knight.

15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Linda Ciletti grew up in the wonderful city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where weekly visits to the public library taught her the value of the written word and filled her with a love of fiction and fairytales. Linda now lives in a quaint cottage in the beautiful Western Pennsylvania suburbs. She writes in the genres of romantic historical (medieval), contemporary, time travel, and fantasy. Her medieval, Draegon’s Lair, won an Epic Award for best historical romance. Other novels by Linda include Knight Stalker (contemporary time travel) and Dream of the Archer (historical time travel). Her poems and photographs have been featured in The Loyalhanna Review literary magazine and her sole foray into horror, “The Hunger”, has been both podcasted and published in the anthology, The Wickeds. All books are available on Amazon. When not serving the writing muse, Linda immerses herself in illustration, creation of virtual world content, and book cover design. You can visit Linda at

Alys de Monceux, betrothed to a cruel and ruthless lord, runs to save herself from further abuse and to protect the secret that she carries. But when she finds herself wounded and without memory in the keep of a man who dares not show his face, will she find the peace and love her heart desires? Or will this strange and foreboding lord return her to the man she fears?

Draegon of Greystone stays hid beneath hood and helm, concealing a face he is sure others will fear. Content to live in a world of shadows, his secure existence is suddenly threatened when he rescues and hides Alys from her pursuer, the evil Knighthawk, Bastion of Worthingshire. But can Draegon save Alys without endangering his people when Bastion’s powerful army tracks her to the small demesne of Greystone? And can a love he never dreamt possible give Draegon the strength to fight against a foe determined to destroy them both?

Rachael’s son, Timmy, wakes from nightmares about a killer knight--dark dreams made all too real when a knight appears in a flash of light and finds his way to Rachael’s doorstep.

Michel of Banesford loses all that he knows when he stalks a ruthless killer into the future, but its not until he meets Rachael and her young son that he understands the true potential for loss.

Damian’s loyalty to King Richard and Robyn Hode marks him an outlaw. A label he cares naught about. All he wants is the return of his lands and revenge on the brother of Nottingham’s Sheriff for the horrific death of his betrothed. He will not risk another such loss. Damian has vowed to love none but the angel in his dreams. She, he can love. She was not real.

Cast back in time to 1192 Sherwood Forest, Lenore wants only to find her friend, Jack, and get back home to the future where she can ponder how to raise enough money to pay the taxes on the ranch she’d inherited from her grandfather.

However, when Damian's dream becomes reality, even the best laid plans can fall asunder. Both know a union between them will only lead to heartache and death. But the attraction is too great to resist.

Some things are worth dying for.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

BOOK: Old Flames and Heroes by Mord McGhee



A swashbuckling tale of luck and love and lake monsters.

Mord's first fantasy novel. Pirates? Lake monsters? Bigfoot? Volcanoes? A world of magic, mystery, luck, and love that is very much like our own, if we simply stop and look around ourselves! Hold onto your peg legs and eye patches for this delightful romp.

Mord McGhee is about to redefine the meaning of FANTASY for our generation.

​Includes original Foreword by world famous cryptozoologist and Director of the International Museum of Cryptozoology, LOREN COLEMAN, who says, "A uniquely intellectual American fantasy."

Mord McGhee is known for writing razor sharp science fiction, fantasy, and horror. He is known as a cryptozoology, serial killer, and Muppet matter expert. He is a Global eBook Award winner and his writing can be found in competitive markets around the globe.

Mord loves books. He loves to write.

He's from Western Pennsylvania (Allegheny County) and has been doing it professionally since March of 2014. As a kid, he loved Chiller Theatre and classic monster horror movies. His later taste in Science Fiction movies leaned towards Total Recall, Predator, Alien, Star Wars, Jaws, and Jurassic Park.

He was a musician for more than 20 years and was fortunate enough to have been involved in almost a dozen records (in various forms). His voice, guitar, drums, bass, and piano are all ASCAP registered and some of the bands have been heard on hard rock and college radio stations around the country (and in Canada) over the years. An injury forced him to retire.

He considers himself one of the luckiest men alive for having the coolest fans in fiction.

He's regarded as a matter expert on the JFK Assassination, the Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian London, and cryptozoology (lake monsters in particular).

Contact him if you need commentary for your project. His latest book is Old Flames and Heroes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

EVENT: 9th Annual Western Maryland Independent Lit Fest


9th Annual Western Maryland
Independent Lit Festival

Downtown Frostburg, Maryland

October 24, 2015
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

The Frostburg State University Center for Creative Writing, in partnership with the Allegany County Library System, is excited to announce that the ninth annual Western Maryland Indie Lit Festival is scheduled for Oct. 24, from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., at Main Street, Frostburg. The event brings together editors and publishers with writers and educators of the local community. Panel discussions and roundtable sessions include topics on various creative genres, DIY publishing, self-publishing, promotion and marketing, writing local, and reading and writing online.

In the days leading up to the Indie Lit Fest, we've scheduled several kickoff events:
Thursday, October 22:
Poetry Slam at Dante's Bar (14 W. Main Street). Writers of any experience level are invited to bring self-written poems verbally duke it out for cash prizes. $2 to attend and/or participate. Registration begins at 7:00 PM, and we will be slamming at 7:30. For poetry slam guidelines, check out out Poetry Slam page.

Friday, October 23:
Indie Lit Kickoff Reading at Main Street Books (2 E. Main Street). Four editors introduce an author their press has published to give a reading. This year's featured authors are Michael Ratcliffe (Free State Review), Mark Brazaitis (Autumn House Press), Margaret Bashaar (Sundress Publications), and Michael Gerhard Martin (Braddock Avenue Books). Reading begins at 5:30 PM.

Indie Lit Kickoff Reception at the Center for Creative Writing (22 E. Main Street). Meet and greet writers, editors, and other Indie Lit participants over snacks and refreshments immediately following the Kickoff Reading.

Indie Lit Kickoff Panel Discussion at the Frostburg Public Library (65 E. Main Street). Featured authors/editors from the Kickoff Reading sit on a panel and discuss the author/editor/publisher relationship.

All Friday events are free of charge. The public is welcome to attend all of these events.

Leading up to the Indie Festival, we will feature interviews and information about participating presses and journalists at the Center’s blog.

Says Gerry LaFemina about the event: "This is a literary arts festival. We're celebrating the writers, the teachers, the libraries, the readers and the publishers, but most of all we're celebrating that fire inside of us that wants to make up stories, that wants to be heard."

Registration for presses is $20. For more information, contact the Washington Street Library at (301)777-1200 or the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at (301) 687-4340.

To reserve a table for the Indie Lit Festival, download this year's registration form here and email to

Click here to view this year's panel and roundtable schedule!


Saturday, October 17, 2015

BOOK: The Empress Game by Rhonda Mason



One seat on the intergalactic Sakien Empire’s supreme ruling body, the Council of Seven, remains unfilled, that of the Empress Apparent. The seat isn’t won by votes or marriage. It’s won in a tournament of ritualized combat in the ancient tradition. Now that tournament, the Empress Game, has been called and the females of the empire will stop at nothing to secure political domination for their homeworlds. Kayla Reinumon, a supreme fighter, is called by a mysterious stranger to battle it out in the arena.

The battle for political power isn’t contained by the tournament’s ring, however. The empire’s elite gather to forge, strengthen or betray alliances in a dance that will determine the fate of the empire for a generation. With the empire wracked by a rising nanovirus plague and stretched thin by an ill-advised planet-wide occupation of Ordoch in enemy territory, everything rests on the woman who rises to the top.

"Mason delivers an old fashioned space opera -- passion, politics, and the fate of Empires hanging on the strength and courage of a single woman. You'll want to reach immediately for book two."
-Tanya Huff, author of The Valor Confederation

"Fast, smart, complex, and fun as hell, THE EMPRESS GAME was an unexpected delight and one of the best books I've read this year. A near perfect blend of romance, action, and interstellar politics in a well thought out and original universe with a tough-as-nails heroine you can't help but root for. Modern Space Opera at its finest!"
-Rachel Bach, author of Fortune's Pawn

Rhonda Mason divides her time between writing, editing, bulldogs and beaching. Her writing spans the gamut of speculative fiction, from space opera to epic fantasy to urban paranormal and back again. The only thing limiting her energy for fantastical worlds is the space-time continuum. When not creating worlds she edits for a living, and follows her marine biologist husband to the nearest beach. In between preserving sea grass and deterring invasive species, she snorkels every chance she gets. She has a masters degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, specializing in Speculative Fiction. You can find her at

Friday, October 16, 2015

BOOK: Dead of Autumn by Sherry Knowlton



Alexa Williams is a successful lawyer, volunteers weekly at a women’s clinic, and has a sexy weekend boyfriend—not to mention an endearing best friend in her giant English mastiff, Scout. But one autumn day, when Scout takes off into the Pennsylvania woods, Alexa discovers a nightmare she’d never imagined. From that fateful day, Alexa becomes entangled in a murder mystery—one that she tries to unravel by linking it to experiences and symbols in her own life.

Dewilla Noakes, a child of the Depression, has recently lost her mother. Her father, packs up the girls—and their attractive cousin, Winnie—and hits the road to look for a job on the east coast. Along the way, money becomes tighter, food becomes scarcer, and relationships become strained. Dewilla’s father fears he’s failing his daughters. Running out of options, he begins to consider the unthinkable to end the misery he’s brought upon his family ...

Alexa soon finds herself amidst violence aimed at the clinic where she volunteers, brought on by pro-life extremists. In a bizarre turn of events, she’s almost raped, ambushed by religious zealots who wish to convert her, then taken by surprise as another romance enters her life. Plus, she seems to be seeing quite a lot of the local law enforcement these days.

No matter what else happens in her life, Alexa can’t shake feeling some sort of connection to the mysterious murder victim. She thinks back to the stories she heard as a child, about the Babes in the Woods, who were murdered close to where the victim’s body was found, wondering if that might be why she draws the connection. But when the murderer strikes again, Alexa must rely on her knowledge of local history and terrain in order to save her own life.

DEAD of AUTUMN ties together the struggles faced by females, young and old, past and present, and the degrees of power they embrace to combat their situations.

Sherry Knowlton (nee Rothenberger) was born and raised in Chambersburg, PA, where she developed a lifelong passion for books. She was that kid who would sneak a flashlight to bed at night so she could read beneath the covers. All the local librarians knew her by name.

Sherry launched her writing career with a mimeographed elementary school newsletter and went on to write and edit for her high school and college newspapers. Since then, Sherry’s creative and technical writing has run the gamut from poetry, essays, and short stories to environmental newsletters, policy papers, regulations, and grant proposals. DEAD of AUTUMN is her first novel.

Sherry spent much of her early career in state government, working primarily with social and human services programs, including services for abused children, rape crisis, domestic violence, and family planning. In the 1990s, she served as the Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The latter part of Sherry’s career has focused on the field of Medicaid managed care. Now retired from executive positions in the health insurance industry, Sherry runs her own health care consulting business.

Sherry has a B.A. in English and psychology from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

Sherry and her husband, Mike, began their journey together in the days of peace and music when they traversed the country in a hippie van. Running out of money several months into the trip, Sherry waitressed the night shift at a cowboy hangout in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Mike washed dishes in a bakery. Undeterred, they embraced the travel experience and continue to explore far-flung places around the globe. Sherry and Mike have one son, Josh, a craft brewer in upstate New York.

Sherry lives in the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania, only a short distance from the Babes in the Woods memorial.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Jennifer Foehner Wells



1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Ei’Brai is my favorite character to write. His arrogance is on steroids. His mind is astoundingly powerful but as an individual he is supremely vulnerable and needy—that’s a fascinating juxtaposition to explore. He’s also a completely different species—so his thoughts and actions should feel alien to us. That gives me a chance to really dive deep into my imagination, to try to imagine what life would be like for a sentient species that isn’t a bipedal hominid.

This character has taken me to some really interesting places and I’m excited to keep plumbing that depth. I always look forward to writing him—and in the sequel to Fluency, I get to write from his point of view! That’s something I didn’t dare to attempt when writing Fluency for fear of it being too hard to not to give too much away too soon or to maintain his mysterious air.

2. Tell me about your travels.
I haven’t had the opportunity to do a lot of travel, but as a college student I was lucky enough to do a semester in Costa Rica where I lived with two different families. For two months I lived with a family of eight that lived remotely at 10,000 feet on the InterAmerican Highway, I got to see a side of life that I had not known as an American.

My host family didn’t have a phone or a refrigerator or running water. They had very few of the things that most modern North Americans would deem as necessities, but they had all they needed—the love and care of a large extended family, plenty of food, adequate shelter—and they were very happy. It was eye opening. It changed my perspective forever. After living there with them I no longer longed for wealth, but for comfort. It was a good lesson for a young adult to learn.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
I am DEVOURING all of the work of N.K. Jemisin. I don’t normally read fantasy. It doesn’t normally appeal to me—I’m more of a SciFi/Space Opera reader. But I picked up The Fifth Season because I want to read more writers who aren’t old white dudes and her novel was being acclaimed because it addresses racial issues in a new way.

I was blown away by her style, the depth of her writing, the complete immersion I felt while reading it…it hit every note for me. I felt like I was a child again, reading good books for the first time. It was magical. When I finished that novel (it’s the first in a trilogy and was just released so the rest aren’t out yet) I had a monstrous book hangover, so I am now reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I will be campaigning for Jemisin to win the Nebula and Hugo this year. Crazy good fiction. Must read.

6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I do a very rough outline before I start writing a novel. I use a 4-act story structure and plan out the major plot points. But all of the details in between are left up to my imagination as I go—and sometimes I come up with a better plot point as I’m writing and revise my original outline to fit it. Every morning before I start typing, I jot down notes longhand into a notebook—often I write down what I want to achieve in a scene, what my characters are thinking and feeling, their goals, as well as snippets of conversation, bits of action I want to include, things like that. Then I start typing.

13. Celebrity crush.
Gwendoline Christie, the actress who plays Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones. Here is a woman who is even TALLER than me (pretty rare—I’m 6’ even) and she has grace and style and she’s so freaking badass. I don’t follow a lot of celebs. I don’t know half of the celebrities that people mention on social media. They are just people like you and me who happen to be in the limelight. But Christie is an amazing individual. So talented. She is such a joy to watch on the screen.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?

15. Do you still watch cartoons?
I do. I have two young boys and they watch them, so sometimes I end up watching too. I must admit I have a powerful affection for Pokemon. And Teen Titans Go! Those are two that I will happily watch with them. If anything else is on, I put in earbuds and tune it out to work. : )

Jennifer's bestselling debut novel is a mix of space opera, science fiction adventure, and SFR. You can pick up a copy at Amazon, Kobo, or iBooks.

Remanence, the sequel to Fluency, will come out early next year.

Readers who want to check out Jennifer's writing for free can sign up for her newsletter and get a copy of her novelette The Grove at

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

BOOK: The Black Wing Chronicles Book 2: Hero's End by JC Cassels



Given the choice between Love and Duty, which does one sacrifice for the other?

Bo Barron has it all: a ship of her own, a formidable reputation as one of the Sub-Socia’s most dangerous criminals, and the sexiest man in holofeatures – Blade Devon. She’d trade it all to find her father, clear her name and reclaim her rightful place as the Chief of Barron Clan… well, maybe she’d hang on to Blade. He’s also a very resourceful Inner Circle Agent with a penchant for coming to her rescue.

When sabotage of his hovercycle results in serious injury, Blade fears that state secrets entrusted to him are in danger of exposure. He’ll go to great lengths to keep that from happening.

Looking for answers to the questions that plague them, each plays a dangerous game of blackmail and extortion — with Bo’s father and their future together on the line.

Author of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series, JC Cassels was born and raised in sunny Tampa, Florida, but divided her time between her family’s suburban home there and her grandparents’ farm in rural South Carolina.

She traces her lifelong infatuation with SF/Adventure to growing up in West Central Florida during NASA’s most exciting years, often watching space launches from her back yard.

JC got her start as a stringer for the Tampa Tribune in 1991. Since that time, she has been a member of the RWA, TARA, TWA and PINAWOR, and is currently a member of Pennwriters and the Science Fiction Romance Brigade.

When not writing in her haunted hospital, JC lives with her husband, three children, five dogs, twenty chickens and a horse in a century-old house in a tiny rural community, and enjoys spending her free time sewing, camping, and heckling theoretical physicists on the Science Channel.

Monday, October 12, 2015

EVENT: Pennwriters Area 1 Mini-Conference: A Writer's Road Trip 3


Registration for the Area 1 Mini-Conference- A Writer's Road Trip 3 is open until October 13, 2015!

Not sure if you are going? It’s a great day filled with exciting classes, knowledgeable instructors and networking to enhance your craft and career. If you are from Area 1 or near Erie, this is an event you don't want to miss. Know a writer from the area? Please let them know about the Mini-Conference and all it has to offer. Find out more about the Mini-Conference and register over at Pennwriters. You can download the day's agenda there as well. The schedule has also been pasted below.

Get motivated and supported. Travel the write road. Buckle-up and join with like-minded peers for this fast-paced ride. If you’re looking for a chance to take your writing to the next level, then set your GPS for “A Writer’s Road Trip 3” Mini-Conference.

Enhance Your Fan Base
Explore Marketing Strategies
Navigate the Potholes
Finally Cross the Finish Line!

Dave Szymanowski
Carol Silvis
Annette Dashofy
Lynda Lampert
Holly Jacobs
Timons Esaias
Gene Ware
Catherine McLean
Deborah R. Magnus
Jamie Saloff
Kathy Otten
Fritze Roberts
Jerry Clark
Ed Palattella
Jean Jenkins

There’s no need to pack a picnic lunch or look for a roadside rest—a luncheon buffet is included. Registration begins at 8 a.m.; sessions run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and the conference wrap up is from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Pennwriters member:



Registration deadline: Oct. 13, 2015.

Email Todd Main with any questions at

Thursday, October 08, 2015

BOOK: You Are Dead by Peter James



The last words Jamie Ball hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified mobile phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of flats where they live in Brighton. Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and mobile phone.

That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for thirty years.

At first, to Roy Grace and his team, these two events seem totally unconnected. But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing - and yet another body from the past surfaces.

Meanwhile, an eminent London psychiatrist meets with a man who claims to know information about Logan. And Roy Grace has the chilling realization that this information holds the key to both the past and present crimes . . . Does Brighton have its first serial killer in over eighty years?

Photo by Gareth Ransome

Peter James was educated at Charterhouse, then at film school. He lived in North America for a number of years, working as a screenwriter and film producer before returning to England. His novels, including the Sunday Times number one bestselling Roy Grace series, have been translated into thirty-six languages, with worldwide sales of fifteen million copies. Three books have been filmed. He has also written a short story collection, A Twist of the Knife. All his novels reflect his deep interest in the world of the police, with whom he does in-depth research, as well as his fascination with science, medicine and the paranormal. He has also produced numerous films, including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes. He divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill, London, and near Brighton in Sussex.

Praise for PETER JAMES
“May just be [Peter James'] best yet. . . . Truly masterful. . . . James is a master of background noises and images. . . . [which] lure the reader into the already compelling but often disturbing mesh of his narrative. . . . A book you really can't put down!” -Huffington Post

“An adroit study of obsession and revenge.” - Publishers Weekly

“Few authors can dish out thrills and suspense as readily as James, and his ninth DS Roy Grace procedural is heady proof. Nonstop action… perfect for Gangs of New York fans.” -Library Journal

“A remarkably inventive story of sexual obsession, possibly the most engrossing thriller since Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs.” - The Washington Post

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

BOOKS: Khokarsa and Ancient Opar Series Re-release



Entire Khokarsa / Ancient Opar Series Back in Print!

"With the announcement that a new standalone edition of The Song of Kwasin will be released in December 2015, the entire Khokarsa/Ancient Opar series is now available to be ordered. Titan Books put out a new edition of the first volume in the series, Hadon of Ancient Opar, in 2013 (which includes my introduction and “Guide to Khokarsa”) before Meteor House picked up the torch and released the second volume, Flight to Opar (in a new restored edition), and the fourth volume, Hadon, King of Opar (my continuation of the series based on Farmer’s notes) this past summer. The aforementioned publication by Meteor House of the third volume, The Song of Kwasin, brings  the entire main series back into print.

Philip José Farmer’s prelude to the series, Time’s Last Gift, is also in print and available, and although the new limited edition hardcover of my prelude novella Exiles of Kho is only a couple copies away from being out of print, an affordable ebook edition is available for both Kindle and NOOK readers. Further, “Kwasin and the Bear God,” my novella with Farmer set during the events of the third novel of the main series, will be included as a bonus piece in the new Meteor House edition of The Song of Kwasin (though if you can’t wait for that, it can also be found in the anthologies The Worlds of Philip José  Farmer 2: Of Dust and Soul and Tales of the Wold Newton Universe). Lastly, my short story, “A Kick in the Side,” set during the events of Flight to Opar, may be found in the anthology The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 1: Protean Dimensions.

In regard to the continuing series, I plan to write the next volume in the main series, Blood of Ancient Opar, as soon as I wrap up my obligations for the new edition of The Song of Kwasin. Blood of Ancient Opar is expected to debut in the summer of 2016."

A complete checklist of the series is listed below.

The Khokarsa Series:
1. Hadon of Ancient Opar by Philip José Farmer
2. Flight to Opar by Philip José Farmer
3. The Song of Kwasin by Philip José Farmer and Christopher Paul Carey (available for preorder)
4. Hadon, King of Opar by Christopher Paul Carey

Khokarsa Series Preludes:
Time’s Last Gift by Philip José Farmer
Exiles of Kho by Christopher Paul Carey

Other Khokarsa Stories:
“A Kick in the Side” by Christopher Paul Carey (short story)
“Kwasin and the Bear God” by Philip José Farmer and Christopher Paul Carey (novella)

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

MENTION: Rhonda Mason Talks About Ambasadora at Lady Notorius


Rhonda Mason, author of the hugely popular The Empress Game, recommended Ambasadora during a discussion on her Lady Notorius blog about subgenres of science fiction. It's a great post highlighting just how an author tries to explain what she writes to audiences with multiple levels of interest and understanding about SF.

To check out the first book in the Ambasadora series, Marked by Light, and some reviews, visit Amazon.