Saturday, 30 September 2017

Vote for #ShadowStalker in the #TCKPublishing 2017 Readers' Choice Awards! | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:

I need your votes!

Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6) is listed in the fantasy category in the TCK Publishing 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards!
Download it FREE if you haven’t already read it, then please vote for my book!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Author Spotlight: Simple Tricks and Nonsense by Sameer Ketkar | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! Today I have Sameer Ketkar visiting with his new sci-fi comedy, Simple Tricks and Nonsense. We’ve also had Adolf H. Canon, a character from the book, visit to answer some questions about his life and his world. Before we get to that, though, let’s learn more about Sameer.
Sameer Ketkar received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in screenwriting from the University of Southern California. He has written one feature film, “Backwaters,” and has published six novels.
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About the Book

“Simple Tricks and Nonsense” is a scathing religious satire set in a scifi space opera universe. It’s told from the point of view of God or Dog, and tells the story of his son, the messiah Adolf H. Canon. Adolf’s story encompasses the religious takeover of the domed planet Naladaya, followed by a crusade to conquer the entire galaxy.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with Adolf H. Canon from Simple Tricks and Nonsense:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?
I never found out where I was born. When I was a very small baby my parents put me into an escape pod and jettisoned me out into space. Their space ship was about to explode so they wanted to save me. I was found by a farmer from the planet Naladaya, and raised as his son.
What is the happiest memory from your childhood?
My happiest memory is from when I was five years old. I was laughing and running with my mother inside Dome 16 of Naladaya. She used to sing me a song about the intergalactic harpies, a song that really made me laugh.
If you could compare yourself to someone from another novel, who would it be?
The character I’m most similar to is Adam Young from “Good Omens,” though he was the son of the anti-Christ while I’m the son of God or Dog. Pretty big difference, but the way that we were raised was pretty similar. We both grew up thinking we were normal, not realizing the great role we had to play in the future of our worlds.
Who do you most admire in your world?
I most admire my true father, God or Dog, though I have had my ups and downs with him. He created the universe, but never found much time to run it. While at first I found that to be a bad thing, in retrospect I admire it. I have gone out amongst the mortals many times in my long life, and every time I have done so — to try and teach them the Word of God or Dog — I have made matters worse. So I think my father, God or Dog, knew this from the start, and decided to stay out of mortal affairs for their own good.
What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?
My most embarrassing moment was when I died — which happened more than once. After dying, my first realization was always that I had failed the mortals. I had failed to teach them how to live in peace, and had instead pushed them towards more war and destruction.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is that people will misconstrue my words of peace and use them to launch wars.
What is the strangest situation you’ve ever found yourself in?
One of my followers began selling “tickets to heaven” as a way to finance spaceships and weapons. I was rather appalled and had no idea how to react, so I remained silent. Why would my followers do this, especially when they knew how much I abhorred war?
What is the greatest obstacle you have ever had to face?
My own pride, and that of my followers.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like to pray, using the DISCO method: raising my arm up and down for the glory of the lord.
Do you have a secret you’ve never told anyone?
I’ve never been comfortable having a penis.
What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?
I wear a spacesuit at all times, because air is precious and we should not presume that we will always have a dome over our heads — or a spaceship surrounding us — to protect us. We must carry our own air, and be self-sufficient. Also, it’s hard to see a man or woman as alluring while they wear a spacesuit. This means that there will be far less sexual assault.
What is your favorite food?
Lentils and rice, cooked in Naladayan fashion (using bean curds and imitation lemons).
What was the most exciting adventure you’ve ever been on?
Meeting Lord Auguste to negotiate for peace in the galaxy.
What do you regret most in your life?
That my words are always misconstrued.
What is your greatest virtue?
I am pious and I know what I want.
If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?
I would negotiate for peace in the galaxy.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Special Features: Flight (The Crescent Chronicles Book 1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:

Sometimes you just have to take flight.
A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.
Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.
(Mature Young Adult / New Adult, contains sexual situations, underage drinking, and mild language).

Get it Free on Amazon!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Medieval Monday: Turning Flax into Linen | Allison D. Reid

Originally posted by Allison D. Reid:

Flax was an important plant in the medieval world. It had an incredible number of uses, some of which have already been touched on in previous posts. One of its primary uses was the production of linen cloth. Cotton didn’t grow well in northern areas of Europe, but flax did, and linen was needed to make undergarments and cooler summer clothing when wool was too hot to wear.
Harvesting and processing flax was a June activity in the Middle Ages. Like so many other medieval tasks, it was a laborious and time consuming one, and it started with either pulling up the entire plant, or cutting the stalks down to the ground. Before anything else could be done, all of the seeds would have to be carefully removed so that they could either be used for their oil, or saved for planting a new crop of flax.
Retting Flax
The next step in the process was retting. The most popular method of doing this was to leave the stalks in water to rot for between 3-6 weeks. This method was the fastest and it whitened the fibers, which was preferable. Since a large amount of water was necessary, ponds and streams were used, even though this tended to pollute the water. Retting in a water source that also served as the community’s drinking water was likely to make you very unpopular, and eventually laws were put in place to limit this type of retting. Another method of retting, if a water source was not available, was to bind the flax stalks in bundles and leave them out for the dew to break them down, turning the bundles on occasion. This method took considerably longer, possibly several months, and the resulting fibers were not as white.
combing fibers
Hackling linen fibers
Once the stalks of flax had rotted, the flax would be dried out and then beaten between wooden blocks to break them apart—a process that was sometimes called beetling. Next would come scutching, where the woody bits of the plant were finally removed from the silky fibers inside. The last step was hackling; combing the fibers into separate lengths that could finally be spun into thread, then woven into cloth.
The end result of all this work was a beautiful, versatile fabric that could be cut and sewn into garments, as these women from the 14th century are doing.
women sewing linen

Monday, 25 September 2017

Invasion Survivor by Hayley lawson

Humanity has one option.
Evacuate Earth.

After a wave of fear crashes over the world in response to a deadly virus. Fear intensifies when it's discovered that the virus is the first wave of attack by an alien race that wants Earth for themselves.

It's one day before Paige's eighteenth birthday, and the world is turning into the walking dead! Zombie-like people are seeking her out.

What the hell! Just Paige's luck.

Can Paige rescue her family and get off the planet before The Wave captures her?

Get it today on Amazon!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

I've been featured on #InstaFreebie! Please check it out and share! | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:

I got an email last week from InstaFreebie telling me I was selected to be featured on their blog. I was so excited! :-D
Please check it out, download the free book if you haven’t already, and share it with your friends, family and followers!
Thanks so much!

Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume | Renee's Author Spotlight

Originally posted on Renee's Author Spotlight:

Shaun wrote his first story, entitled "The Stagecoach Robbery", at the age of six, and has been making stories ever since.

After working in education with children of all ages for many years, Shaun turned his passion into his profession, and is now a freelance writer and photographer.

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About the Book

Ewan Pendle was weird. Really weird. At least, that's what everyone told him. Then again, being able to see monsters that no one else could wasn't exactly normal ...

Thinking he has been moved off to live with his eleventh foster family, Ewan is instead told he is a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of peoples who can alone see the real 'Creatures' which inhabit the earth. He is taken in by Enola, the mysterious sword carrying Grand Master of Firedrake Lyceum, a labyrinth of halls and rooms in the middle of London where other children, just like Ewan, go to learn the ways of the Creatures.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Sleep was a restless affair for Ewan. The thought that he had to get up extra early and, therefore, had to fall asleep as quickly as possible in order to get a decent amount of shuteye, only kept him awake for longer. When Max’s snoring started, he didn’t think he would get any rest at all.

In the early hours of the morning, when sleep finally did come, it was anything but peaceful. Ewan was visited by dreams of wide open green fields with a singular white blurry figure set on the pristine horizon. Every time Ewan tried to get closer to the figure and see who, or indeed what, it was, it would only get blurrier until it finally disappeared altogether and turned into a wisp of smoke that then became a massive and monstrous pale cloud, dominating the sky above him.

‘Ewan … Ewan.’ Blown over by a mighty gust of wind, Ewan tumbled to the ground. A voice was demanding he get up and follow the cloud as it shot across the sky like a floating city.

‘Ewan – Pendle!’ Ewan woke suddenly to see a wide and shimmering head glaring down at him through the darkness. It was Moham. ‘On your feet,’ he said in the quietest voice Ewan had ever heard him utter. Although his voice was dim, it carried with it no less foreboding of what the result would be if its request was not immediately carried out.

‘Pain Yard – five minutes,’ said Moham, then turning and walking away.

Ewan dressed as quickly as he could and then tiptoed past all of the other snoozing cadets and out of the dormitory. A few smouldering embers in the gigantic fireplace puffed sympathetically as he crossed the darkened common room. The empty corridors of Firedrake were still asleep too, and Ewan did his best not to wake them as he tried to achieve a balance between speed and silence. He thought with a little shudder that right now Betony could have probably sneaked up on him and snapped his neck before he had even known that he was no longer alone.

As he stepped outside a few minutes later, the chill early morning air bit at Ewan’s face and neck like a million tiny flies, all of them trying to take the largest chunk or leave the most painful mark as they nibbled at his skin. Moham was standing in the centre of Pain Yard, curiously staring up at the peach coloured sky. Ewan approached him slowly, but the tall Master did not unclench the grip his singular visible dark eye had on the brightening sky until Ewan was close enough to touch him.

‘Laps,’ said Moham in a low voice. Ewan complied immediately.

As Ewan set out on his first lap of the long and wide rectangular Pain Yard, he bent his eyes towards the high walls of the Lyceum, there being nothing else but sand and Moham in the Yard itself to look at. For the first half a dozen floors or so, all four walls that frowned down onto the Yard were the same height. But after this the roofs were mismatched and the tiles and gutters chased each other up and down and in all directions.

Firedrake Lyceum was slowly waking, the tips of its highest flat glass eyes blinking and glinting in the sun.

Ewan knew that the widows in the boy’s Grade One dormitory looked down onto the Yard, but he had no idea that the girl’s did too. Casting a wistful look up in the direction of his bed and the beds of the other sleeping Grade One cadets, Ewan spotted someone waving to him from a long and thin window set into the honey coloured stone of the Lyceum, like a shiny welt on rough skin.

Ewan focused his sharp hazel eyes.

Mathilde was sitting on what must have been the wide inside sill of one of the windows of the girl’s dormitory. Still in her pyjamas and cross legged, she offered a vehement wave and a wide smile that Ewan couldn’t quite make out but was still sure was there. Suddenly the wind didn’t seem so fierce, the barked instructions from Moham for him to lift his knees didn’t thump against his eardrums so thickly, and Ewan picked up his pace.

For a whole hour Moham made Ewan run, and for that whole hour Mathilde sat and watched, offering another short wave every time he looked up. It was strange that the thought which came to Ewan so clearly now had only just arrived, because he had been through a lot already with Mathilde and Enid. But as he lifted his head back up for his regular once-every-five-minute look towards the high windows of the dormitories, something warm trickled down Ewan’s throat, settling itself in his stomach and welling up like a bowl being slowly filled with warm soup.

This, Ewan thought, must be what it feels like to have friends.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Author Spotlight: Blood Betrayal (Brothers of Fang, Book 2) by Iris Sweetwater | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Iris Sweetwater with the second book in her Brothers of Fang series, Blood Betrayal. We were also lucky enough to meet with Hyacinthe, one of the characters from the book, who will be sharing a bit about herself later, but first, let’s get to know Iris.
Iris Sweetwater grew up on a steady dose of Poe and Dickinson, first getting published in poetry anthologies at the age of 13. As an adult, she has worn many hats; ghostwriter, marketer, teacher, and mother. After spending six years writing for others, she found her way to self-publishing in 2017 and plans on making this a career. When she is not writing, she loves to dance, sign, and spend time with her husband and spunky daughter.

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About the Book

Isaiah’s failure as the new alpha has now gone even farther than he imagined as he faces family betrayal he never expected and a slew of hybrid that must decide whether or not to join the pack. Not surprisingly, he again is finding a great ally in the young and powerful Annalise, the witch that is meant to rule the entire Olympia coven. Though, as they get closer, regardless of the chasteness of their relationship, the distance between Isaiah and his mate will grow.
Annalise is coming into her own and discovering her new powers. She thought she was back with the coven for good until the strangest order came to her from Hyacinthe, the interim leader of the coven that thrusts her right back into the middle of the drama of the Young family. As secrets are uncovered and she finds herself getting more involved with the pack, she begins to realize she is not as over everything as she thought.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with Hyacinthe from Blood Betrayal:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?
I grew up in the outskirts of Olympia, Washington, inside the coven’s territory. Most people would believe it to be isolated, but it was a strong and loving community, even after tragedy struck.
Did you have a close relationship with your family?
I was extremely close to my family, especially my brother, Ren.
Who is your enemy?
My enemy is anyone who seeks to cause chaos and death in my coven or the pack. It could have devastating consequences, and I do not plan on losing anyone else, ever again.
Who do you most admire in your world?
I would never admit it to her face, but I most admire my niece, Annalise. She was raised by me out of tragic circumstance. She could have done anything with her amazing powers, but she has chosen to be loving and kind.
Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?
My world is one hidden in plain sight. I know about witches and shifters. In fact, i am a witch a very powerful one. I have been seen as the leader in the coven for many years as i held down the fort until my niece was old enough to take over, and I am often seen as an uncaring, independent, powerful woman.
What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?
The most embarrassing moment in my life was also my most heart wrenching. I have always been a proud and strong woman. In my weakness, I loved someone, only to lead her straight into betrayal. That betrayal led to the death of my brother and his wife.
Have you ever been in love?
I had an epic love once. She was a powerful, ambitious, blond witch who stole my young heart. I thought we had everything, and I ignored it when her ideals were radical and did not match mine. It ended in losing everyone I loved to death, her included.
What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?
I like black, beautiful, and elegant. I can be found in a lot of dresses and lace, but always tasteful.
Would you ever or have you ever lied?
I have not lied, but I have kept the truth hidden. I think it is often for the best for people to find out things on their own in the right time.
If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?
I would make amends to those I had harmed and make sure my niece had everything she needed to go on without me.

Shadow Moon by Gaja J. Kos

Werewolf. Coach. Lover. Spy.

After the War, Lotte gave up the turmoil of pack life to pursue a far more placid career in tennis. Or so she believed.

When a player is found dead at the compound with only days left until the Munich Games, the Interspecies Crimes and Relations Agency rolls in. Senior Agent Isa Vogt suspects foul play and enlists Lotte’s help to discover who stands behind the lethal performance-enhancing drug.

While separating friend from foe seems like an impossible task, Lotte has no choice but to return to her ruthless werewolf ways—or see another athlete die.

Will she win the hardest match of her life? Join Lotte’s team by picking up your copy of SHADOW MOON to find out.

Now Available for Pre-Order!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Blackmark (The Kingsmen Chronicles #1) by Jean Lowe Carlson | Renee's Author Spotlight

Originally posted on Renee's Author Spotlight:

Award-winning author Jean Lowe Carlson writes adventurous epic fantasy fiction with a dark twist. Her raw worlds remind one of Patrick Rothfuss, George RR Martin, Robert Jordan, and Robin Hobb. Jean holds a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (ND), and has a keen awareness of psychology and human behavior, using it to paint vivid characters set amidst nations in turmoil or societies with riveting secrets. Exciting, challenging, and passionate, her novels take the reader upon dire adventures while exploring deep human truths. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist medal for her dark fantasy "Tears".

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About the Book

“Blackmark is spellbinding! Strong development of characters, fully integrated storylines with intriguing plot twists, and deep world building. A fantasy novel that takes you on a journey you never want to leave!” – Michelle G., Amazon Review

“Like George RR Martin and Joe Abercrombie, Carlson writes in this genre for grown-ups, with flair and elegance. A complex world with characters that develop well, this story reveals as it builds!” - Daniel F., Amazon Reviewer

A nation's most elite warriors vanished overnight. A throne in jeopardy on the heels of murder. War devouring the survivors, fanned to fury by a shadowy cabal born of ancient magic. And the five friends who can stop it, banished to the corners of the continent as traitors. Welcome to a land where dreams die and men do what they must to survive.

This dark and gritty sword and sorcery series from award winning author, Jean Lowe Carlson, explores a complex world of treachery, passion, sex, and magic. Readers who enjoy Game of Thrones, Outlander, the Kingkiller Chronicles, or the Wheel of Time will love this fantastic adventure.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

It chose me! I had a completely separate career as a primary care doctor, but I've always had epic movie-style dreams. My husband encouraged me to write my dreams down (rather than talking his ear off at the breakfast table for an hour), and I finally started to in 2012. This one dream I just kept adding to, seeing characters develop, scenes, then a plot. I soon had 50 pages, and I thought "Well, maybe I should try writing a book!" And so it began... ;-)

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

At first, yes. My work was very personal, exploring dark themes that I wrestled with in dream-work, meditation, and in my daily life. It was hard to expose all that to an audience, but once I got up the courage and put my dark fantasy trilogy Three Days of Oblenite out there, I didn't really have any qualms after that.

What genres do you write?

My key genre is dark epic fantasy, but I also write contemporary dark fantasy that sneaks over into alt-reality sci-fi and even a bit of dystopian.

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?

Dark romance. I have a TON of drafts going, but I need to start a pen name to get them out there. Many traditional fantasy readers don't enjoy as much sex as I like to throw in my novels, and I need an outlet for all the dark and dangerous naughty bits I like to write!

What inspires you to write?

Dreams, dreams, and more dreams. I have so many ideas from the dreams I've written down that it's ridiculous. When I see themes begin to emerge, and then characters or a plot that I could run with, it gets me so excited to write and follow where it's going!

How long does it take you to write a novel?

I write a lot, almost daily and about 2K-5K words/day, so the writing takes maybe 6 months per epic fantasy novel, and my epic fantasy books average around 200K. But it's the editing and streamlining the story that takes time. I'd say I publish a book about every 9 months.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

Olea den'Alrahel. She's a badass warrior Captain of the Roushenn Palace Guard who takes no shit from anyone. But she also has a really big heart and a fantastic, bawdy sense of humor. She's a renegade in a position of responsibility, and she takes that seriously, inspiring others. Plus, she wears a sexy but functional cobalt leather jerkin and a sword and longknives. What's not to love? ;-)

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

Probably Brandon Sanderson. He's so prolific, and his worlds are so detailed and intriguing but not so complicated that they're hard to follow. It's fast and dirty sometimes, crude and dangerous sometimes, and always beautiful. And that really resonates with me. Plus, I want to get tips from someone who writes fast and publishes regularly on the business side of things, and he's great at that.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

Not until I published Blackmark, the first book of my dark epic fantasy series The Kingsmen Chronicles, summer of 2016. Even though I had released books before that, I didn't feel like my writing style really gelled until that novel. And even then, it changed a bit again for Bloodmark (The Kingsmen Chronicles #2) to be faster and grittier, more action-driven. My writing style is still evolving, but it's stabilizing now that I've been at it for about 5 years. And I certainly didn't get the hang of marketing until 2016, so I don't consider myself successful at being an indie author until I began to get that going. Marketing makes or breaks a career. ;-)

What are your goals as an author?

Publish like crazy. Market the hell out of good material. Get paid! ;-) No really, my goals are to release at least 2 novels per year for the next 10 years or more and perfect my launch strategies and write-to-market details until I am making a steady self-supporting income from sales. In five years, I plan to have an epic fantasy line, a dark fantasy line, an alt-reality sci-fi line, and a separate pen name for dark fantasy romance. My current works are really just the tip of the iceberg. I also want to network and co-author with other great authors who inspire me and support their work as they grow. The dog-eat-dog model of traditional publishing is dying. Co-supportive indie models are the new successful model.