Friday, October 31, 2014

Win a $50 Amazon/BN GC - Virtual Book Tour: Shadows of Ghosts by Stefan Haucke


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn winner will receive a $50 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Researching Tips


Not every story requires research, but every story will benefit from research. The more an author knows about he world their characters inhabit, the richer the story will be.

If your story takes place in the past, first make sure you have a firm understanding of the basic issues of that era. What were the social issues? What were the political issues? Then you must make sure you have an understanding of how people during that era lived. What were the ways people in that era earned a living? What kind of technology did they have? All of these questions can be answered by reading history books that cover the era you're researching, and or by searching the internet.

Once you have a firm understanding of the era, I strongly recommend seeking out firsthand accounts from people who lived in the era. Seek out diaries, letters, official reports of events that people witnessed. Why do I strongly recommend this? Because when you read a firsthand account you are given details about the daily life of that era that you won't find in most history books.

Finding a good firsthand account of an event takes some effort. Unfortunately, you will have to read through a bunch of poorly written firsthand accounts before you will find a good one. But it's worth it. Reading a well written firsthand account is the closest thing to stepping into a time machine and traveling back in time. When you read the event it feels as if you are there.

How do you find good firsthand accounts of historical events? The best way is to read the bibliographies in history books that cover the era you're researching. Bibliographies are wonderful resources for finding not only firsthand accounts of events, but for finding interesting books that you most likely would never otherwise come across.

Happy researching!

Shadows of Ghosts carries readers to Enara, a kingdom at war with itself, where for centuries centaurs have been treated like animals because of their horse-like lower bodies; they've been forced to work as slaves in the southern agricultural provinces, and have been bought and sold like livestock. But a strong abolitionist faction has convinced many that centaurs' human torsos, heads, and intellectual abilities make them humans, who should be liberated from slavery and granted the same rights as any other person.

After four years of being forced to live in a remote village and having to keep his real identity a secret, Cal Lanshire, days away from his thirteenth birthday, is given the best birthday present he can imagine. He is told the war is almost over and he will soon be allowed to return home.

But then an old acquaintance unexpectedly arrives with news that changes everything. Cal's father, the king, has been assassinated.

Suddenly the outcome of the war and the very fate of the kingdom depend upon Cal being able to reach the capital where he will take his father's place.

With only his crafty best friend by his side and an escaped centaur slave to guide him, can Cal make it through an enchanted, hostile wilderness, past the assassins sent to kill him, and back to the capital before it's too late?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Suddenly, Grintar shouted something, but Cal couldn’t understand the words. Grintar’s men spread out, and there was a tension that Cal could sense, like the way it felt seconds before a bolt of lightning was about to strike nearby. Grintar raised his sword over his head, held it there for several seconds, and then he swooped it down, slashing it through the air, and shouted, “Advance!”

Chaos exploded. Crossbow bolts and arrows whistled through the air, and men on both sides charged forward, yelling battle cries, and the ringing sounds of metal striking metal pierced the air as the opposing troops crashed into each other. Soon the agonized screams of the wounded and dying joined the other sounds.

The men who were guarding Cal moved him back, and they tightened their circle around him so that their shields were almost touching; Cal strained to see out through the thin slits in between the shields. All he saw was an occasional flash from the sun reflecting off metal, and at one point he saw a streak of red, which he was certain was blood pouring out of a wounded man.

It was difficult to estimate how long the battle lasted. The agonized screams and the ringing of metal striking metal seemed interminable, and it took all of Cal’s willpower not to clasp his hands over his ears, but the battle stopped so abruptly Cal had a sense that it hadn’t lasted more than three or four minutes. There came a brief span of absolute silence which, after the battle’s cacophony, seemed eerie, as if the dead had suddenly demanded the payment of silent respect.

About the Author:
Stefan Haucke, driven by the desire to learn about other cultures and the need for adventure, has traveled to over twenty nations. He rode a camel near the pyramids in Egypt, swam with sea lions in the waters of the Galapagos Islands, climbed the Great Wall of China, hiked near the Acropolis in Athens, went dog sledding in northern Michigan, and photographed polar bears in Canada.

Along his many travels, Stefan has successfully worked as a deckhand, a shepherd, a dispatcher for an emergency services unit, an electric meter reader, and an office manager. He has also found the time to study the literature and history of ancient Greece, Russia, and the United States, and loves reading folktales, fairytales, and urban legends. He also enjoys astronomy, and on clear nights can be found gazing at the stars and planets with his telescope.

Website ~ Goodreads


Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Indie Bound - Independent Bookstores. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Win a $25 Amazon GC -- Book Blast: Black Cats and Ballet Slippers by Iva Valentino


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Gemma Mayfield feels like middle school is a lot to bite off and chew. School, ballet classes, and planning on how to get Trevor Davis to ask her to the Halloween Dance are a tough balancing act. On top of that, Gemma is convinced that her science teacher, Ms. Pruett, is a witch.

When things start getting fishy at school, Gemma knows that Ms. Pruett is behind it all! Students are getting spells placed on them and start to go missing. Gemma and her best friend, Izzie, vow to stop Ms. Pruett from doing any more damage. Will they be able to save Middleton Middle School from witchcraft?

Enjoy an excerpt:

I am convinced that my teacher is a witch. I’m not saying that she acts witchy, like she’s mean or anything. Completely the opposite, as far as I’m concerned. Ms. Pruett is so nice that she’s TOO nice.

Ms. Pruett is the kind of teacher that masquerades as your grandma. I’m not kidding! She shuffles around the classroom with her white frizzy hair poking up all over the place out of her bun. She calls the kids “dearie,” like ALL THE TIME. She also passes out candy a lot, although I’ve never eaten any. (I’ve been too scared, but no one’s keeled over or turned into a spider yet.)

I think there’s something really creepy about her.

Like, for instance, I was sitting in Ms. Pruett’s science class today. Ms. Pruett was at the front of the room, droning on about the respiratory system of frogs. Blah, blah, blah. Every once in a while she would come down one of the rows in the classroom, gripping her frog model and pointing to some frog part. And then she’d stop, make eye contact with a kid or two, and smile this sweet, sickening smile. It was sort of mesmerizing.

I always find myself unable to stop staring at the wart on her face. Izzie says it’s a mole, not a wart. I prefer to think otherwise. Sometimes it surprises me that we’re best friends since we disagree on this very important matter.

I don’t think that Izzie in general is as convinced as I am that Ms. Pruett is a witch. What’s not to believe? Wart on nose, the fact that she must be over a hundred years old, and the spooky room that we have class in every day. Ms. Pruett calls her classroom the “Science Laboratory”. Yikes! How much more creepy can you get?

About the Author:
Iva Valentino lives in Arizona with her husband and their dog, Lupo. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Education. She loves living year-round in the warm desert.

Iva spent many years as a middle school teacher, where she enjoyed doing fun science experiments with her students. She currently works as a science editor at an educational publishing company. She loves travel, yoga, and photography. There is nothing that brings her more happiness than a good dance class!

Website: www.IvaValentino.com
Blog: www.ivavalentino.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ivaavalentino

Buy the book at MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. (on sale for $1.35 at publisher and Amazon)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a $20 Amazon GC - Book Blast: Gypsy Hunted by Andrea Drew


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Andrea will be awarding a $20 amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Reluctant psychic Gypsy Shields—she prefers the term "intuition consultant"—finds herself in trouble when, on her way home from a blind date, she interrupts a kidnapping in progress. She attempts to intervene, and her heroics are repaid with a collision between the attacker's van and a brick wall. She awakens in the hospital, paralyzed on her left side and unable to speak. This also means she's unable to share her vital information as a witness. Fortunately, she is able to use her telepathic connection with her niece to throw a line out to a police detective she knows: Connor Reardon, her blind date.

Connor will do anything to protect Gypsy, and he listens to her claims of psychic power willingly, as he's concealing certain powers of his own. Nor are they all he's concealing. Gypsy senses a part of her new ally's mind is closed to her—what she cannot know is that Connor suspects the kidnapper is someone close to him, and the kidnapping victim holds secrets that will tear through Connor's department, putting careers and lives at risk. Including Gypsy, still in hospital and vulnerable as the attacker turns his sights on her once again.

Can she use her powers to track down the perpetrator and prevent her own murder?

Enjoy an excerpt:

As Connor switched off the alarm, he knew it would be a rough one. The rumor mill was already in overdrive, and his phone had notified him with a ping.

A young woman, a police headquarters employee had gone missing last night.

The kicker was the confidential reports she’d swiped on the way out of the building. Reports about suspect bent cops, written by internal affairs and for the eyes of that department only. Seems this lady was curious and not all she appeared to be.

He’d been exhausted last night and needed a full night’s sleep. It was still dark outside as he slid out of bed and slipped on his running gear. His morning run helped him keep his thoughts straight and make a reasonable start to the day. He grabbed the bottle from the shelf beside the door, and it swung wide has he headed outside. If he didn’t run he’d go insane or at least more insane than he felt already, dealing with the unrelenting pressure of being senior detective. As he headed down the steps he heard the satisfying clunk of the door closing.

Cold air stung his skin, and his breath formed plumes of mist that streamed past his eyes. Lengthening his stride, Connor pulled the iPod from his pocket to clip it his waistband. Some cops turned to drink, some to drugs, and others went off the rails. After the failure of his marriage, he had turned to running, three miles a day.

About the Author:
Andrea Drew has been a commercial copy writer and resume writer for over a decade.

She's written for celebrity stylists, assisted business coaches and start-ups, written grants for not for profits, delivered marketing presentations to business owners, and attends Australian writing conventions.

Her self-published book "Pro Resumes Made Easy" has been downloaded over 40,000 times.

Andrea has one husband (more than enough), three kids, a pet rock (her daughters not hers), and a house in the suburbs, where she's hard at work on the second novel in the Gypsy series.

Email her at andrea@andrea-drew.com.

Gypsy Hunted her first fiction novel (her first suspense thriller set in her home town of Melbourne Australia) is available at Amazon.

Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Blog
a Rafflecopter giveaway