Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Spotlight: Virtue Inverted

About the Book
Virtue Inverted is the first novel of a hard-hitting sword and sorcery trilogy by Piers Anthony and Ken Kelly. Benny Clout is a poor mountain boy who has found true love in Virtue the vampire. However, Virtue is not an ordinary vampire; she's actually a very nice girl. Her bites contain extraordinary power, but will that power be enough to combat the evil that awaits them?


About the Authors:
Piers Anthony is one of the world's most popular fantasy authors, and a New York Times bestseller twenty-one times over. His Xanth novels have been read and loved by millions of readers around the world, and he daily receives hundreds of letters from his devoted fans. In addition to the Xanth series, Anthony is the author of many other best-selling works. Piers Anthony lives in Inverness, Florida.

Kenneth Kelly is a 26 year old native of Plant City, Fl. He has been an avid writer his whole life, and has had a number of short works published during grade school and college. He has a Bachelor's degree in English Professional Writing form St. Leo University.

Website for Dreaming Big Publications!

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Interview and Giveaway: Harkworth Hall

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Only 99 cents through August 7** 

Caroline Daniels must marry, and marry well. But in her remote corner of England eligible suitors are few and far between, and none hold a candle to her closest friend, Diana Fitzroy.

When Sir Edward Masterson arrives, he seems the answer to Caroline’s financial worries, though she instinctively dislikes the reticent, older merchant. Soon Sir Edward has set his sights on acquiring both Caroline and the decaying Harkworth Hall.

Caroline’s future seems secure, save that Sir Edward’s enigmatic secretary hints at a dark secret, and Sir Edward shows an unusual interest in the nearby bay. To discover Sir Edward’s true purpose, Caroline will have to face the horror beneath Harkworth Hall—and the woman who will change her life.

The author was kind enough to answer some of my questions. I'd like to welcome her to the blog!

What was your inspiration for Harkworth Hall?

My inspiration was actually twofold … I started writing Harkworth in November 2016, which depending on your politics was either a very good or a very bad month in the U.S. For me it was very bad, and it capped off an already difficult year. I wanted to write something with a happy ending when everything felt so hopeless … and then, as so many writing projects do, it took on a life of its own.

My other inspiration was to write a kind of book that I think teenaged me needed and never got. I am in my 40s now, and when I was young everything was male hero/female love interest. I was a voracious reader, and yet all my reading boiled down to that same configuration. In a way, it helped kickstart my interest in writing, as I began writing what’s now called fanfiction, rewriting books and movies so that the woman was the hero. But to have found stories that just straightforwardly presented different protagonists, with different sexualities and ethnicities … I think it would have helped me tremendously to not feel so isolated, and to understand parts of myself that I’m only unraveling now.

What sort of research went into writing this book?

Well, it was more of setting the book in a time and place where I had already done a lot of research. I have a MA in Humanities and did a fair amount of work on Enlightenment-era Europe, and about five years ago I started putting together a larger trilogy set in mid-18th century Europe. That project is still in progress—it’s got so many moving parts it’s hard to work on in conjunction with any other writing—but in the meantime I had five years of research already done and begging to be used. I did drill down a little more into daily life in England, the Northumberland coast, and reached out to some local historians for Harkworth. Also, I’ll be going back to England this fall for a family event, and will be visiting a couple towns to research settings and maritime details for Leviathan (the sequel to Harkworth Hall.)

One of my goals with Harkworth, as well as the other trilogy, is to try to present a more middle- and working-class sense of the period. What we know of this time tends to be wide dresses and big hair, all the rococo and baroque flourishes … but for every noble prancing about there were hundreds of folks living in every variety of poverty imaginable, from the gutter to the kind of genteel penny-pinching Caroline practices. They are part of this time too.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I work part-time for a church, and I index and proofread books, mostly textbooks. I worked in publishing for twelve years as a production manager, but around the 10-year mark I started burning out. Now I produce the printed matter for an open and affirming congregational church, and I’ve indexed everything from cinematic theory to teen behavioral studies, global economics to firefighting. It’s a bit crazy-making, but it’s never boring.

What do you think is unique/important about writing a f/f romance?

I must confess I’m still learning about genres, where one ends and another begins, and I struggle with applying those definitions to my own work. People have told me Harkworth is a romance, but to me it’s first and foremost Caroline’s story—what she faces at the Hall and what she starts to understand about herself. Is it paranormal romance? Gothic horror? Weird fiction? Historical fantasy? I think it could fit all these categories, and more besides.

That being said, in its own way this little book felt important to write. Representation matters, and while things are getting better we still have a long ways to go. Nowadays I see a lot of women protagonists who are powerful—superhuman, highly trained, born into power, that sort of thing. I wanted to write a woman who is like many of us, who has myriad constraints upon her and still chooses to wield what agency she has. I wanted to write a woman who is slowly becoming aware of herself and her desires. And I wanted to write in a time when so many lives were simply unacknowledged, or were at best footnotes in a record-book.

If you only had five words to use to sell your book, what would those words be?

Ugh, I’m terrible at this sort of thing, but here goes: Two Georgian lesbians fight monstrosities.

If Harkworth Hall were to be made into a movie, what would be the most important thing for them to get right?

The relationship. We can quibble about the historical details, but yanno, all things considered I don’t think the book will ever qualify as “factual.” It’s getting their relationship right—not presenting it to titillate, or to check boxes—that would make or break a movie version for me. Everything else would be gravy.

About the Author:
L.S. Johnson lives in Northern California, where she wrangles four cats and a spouse; in her free time she writes weird fiction and fantasy. Her first collection, Vacui Magia, won the 2nd Annual North Street Book Prize and is a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. Her novella Harkworth Hall is now available. Find out more about her and sign up for her mailing list at

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: Finding Daylight

Title: Finding Daylight
Author: Mara Dabrishus
Page Count: 351
My Rating: 4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Georgie Quinn and the filly Sweet Bells are an unbeatable team. When they win the Breeders’ Cup Classic against colts, the world can’t seem to get enough. Overnight, Georgie becomes the face of horse racing, and Sweet Bells becomes its queen.

Although they’re the morning line favorites, Georgie feels like she’s barely keeping her head above water. Her parents’ farm is a crumbling has-been, her jockey career consumes her time, and Harris Armstrong, heir to Tupelo Stud and grandson of Sweet Bells’ owner, won’t forgive her for telling a lie that kept her family together as the truth ripped his apart.

Georgie refuses to apologize, so she’s stunned when Harris asks her to ride his new colt. The most tenuous partnership in racing has begun. One that threatens to swallow Georgie whole.

I loved it! Mara Dabrishus always has a way of evoking the time of my life when I was obsessed with horse movies and stories. It is also always such a pleasure to read a horse book by someone who really knows their stuff. As a person who's ridden most of my life, I can tell pretty quickly when an author might not know horses or hasn't done their research. Mara Dabrishus knows horses and the sport of horse racing and it shows.

I also really appreciate the different story lines Dabrishus weaves throughout "Finding Daylight." There is Georgie's horse riding career, but there are also narratives about her love life, friendships, and family that all interweave really well!

If I were going to criticize anything, it would be that towards the middle of the book it felt like I was just reading about a series of different races. And while the other plot lines were moving forward, the pace seemed to lull a bit and I was waiting for something big to raise the stakes that didn't necessarily have to do with racing. (I got that in spades later, I just had to read a bit more).

If you are looking for a great horse book, look no further. You should also check out this author's other books like Stay the Distance, which I have also reviewed. She knows horses, and she also knows how to tell compelling stories. So it would definitely be worth your while to pick up a copy of one of her books!

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

Spotlight: The Black Lily

About the Book:
Courtesan. Spy. Assassin.

Across the Kingdom of Arestea, the shadowy league of professional killers known simply as the Guild has long since earned its terrifying reputation. And none of its current members are more infamous than the Black Lily. No one knows who the Lily is, but everyone recognizes the efficiency with which he or she brings down even the most guarded targets. There is no one, it is said, who is safe from this fiend once they have caught the assassin’s attention.

Now Lily herself is about to discover if her reputation has been inflated or not, for she has just been assigned the most daunting mission of her career: infiltrate the royal palace and eliminate the entire Arestean line of succession to make room for the Guild’s puppet ruler. It’s a challenging job, but one that will secure her place in the history books should she succeed.

But when unplanned circumstances take the king from his country to help secure the front lines in his latest war of expansion, Lily is left trapped in her assumed persona behind the palace walls and forced to stall for time. And when a particularly bad stroke of luck reveals her cover to the king’s brother, Crown Prince Adrian, Lily finds herself ensnared in her own web, forced to use all her skills of subterfuge and manipulation if she is to stay one step ahead of the na├»ve but righteous young man and finish her mission — or die trying.

About the Authors:
Mandy and G.D. Burkhead met in high school in a writing chatroom, where they began an episodic story together. 

They attended college together at Lindenwood University and both received BA's in Creative Writing. 

They currently live in the Nashville area. Mandy has her MLIS and works at the Nashville Public Library. Gary is a copy editor for the Tennessean. 

The Black Lily is their first full-length fantasy novel. 


Contact info:
Goodreads links:


Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.  

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Spotlight + FAQ: Grains of Truth

About the Book
What are the lies we tell ourselves to stay sane?

In the world of a Texas feed store, the line between reality and truth blurs when love and friendship are at stake. Meet Sarah and Zoe, two best friends who work in a family-owned feed store. Their lives begin to unravel when love sparks between Sarah and the feed store owner’s only heir, Tom. Patriarch Otis quickly makes it known that his only son’s future won’t include the feed store “girl”. The clash over Tom’s love life erupts in a family feud where business is expected to trump love. In the meantime, a romance also ignites between Zoe and the local town physician whom she nicknames “Dr. Sex on Two Legs”. The women are quickly caught up in a family feud that leads to unexpected consequences, loss and tragedy.

Grains of Truth is an intense, emotional and passion-filled story about two best friends looking for that one thing everyone wants — love. It’s a story about friendship and accepting what you can’t change. Grains of Truth will move you to tears and leave you astonished. It’s a must-read story with an unexpected twist.

Grains of Truth retails for $19.95 and is now available in print on the 3L Publishing website (, Amazon, and eBook for Kindle, Nook and iBook. Media and book reviewers can request a copy by emailing or by calling 916-300-8012.

About the Author
Elizabeth Ferry-Perata is a mother to two handsome boys and a wife to a wonderful man. She enjoys reading and coming up with unique plots. Elizabeth also enjoys spending time with family and friends. By day Elizabeth is a college instructor and by night she writes. Grains of Truth is her debut novel. She is in the process of writing her second novel, Public Truths.


Q: What is Grains of Truth about?
A: The lives, friendship and lovers of two best friends, Sarah and Zoe. The women work for a local feed store owned by a blustering Texan named Otis. When the “feed-store girl” Sarah falls for Otis’ only male heir, scandal and heartbreak erupt.

Q: What makes this contemporary romance unique from others in the genre?
A: The story of love and friendship is timeless. While it might on the surface seem simple: girl meets boy; family doesn’t approve of the lovers; and girl loses boy – it’s the subtext that offers the fresh ideas. Much more is going on in this story than what appears to be obvious. The book calls for readers to really pay attention and dig a little deeper as the story unfolds.

Q: What is the sub-plot in the story?
A: While we have the romance between Tom and Sarah, the secondary story is about her best friend Zoe and her struggles. She’s a single mom whose ex-husband has betrayed and left her to raise their son alone. It’s nothing new and many women will relate to Zoe. She is like everyone else. She wants true love, and she thinks she’s found it when she meets the town doctor, whom she fondly nicknames “Dr. Sex on Two Legs”. Their love story is less fraught with obstacles – or so it seems. Some barriers in love have nothing to do with the obvious.

Q: What do you think draws readers in the most?
A: The story isn’t a fantasy or particularly unique. It deals with everyday people and their personal challenges and desires. Sarah and Zoe could be the women we all know who live in our neighborhoods. The book’s characters are highly relatable and flawed just like everyone. How the story unfolds and what happens and particularly the subtext are unique and thought provoking. When the reader finishes the book, he or she will be surprised and perhaps enlightened.

Q: What inspired you to write the book?
A: I always had one eye on my children and one eye on my career. I worked a typical Monday through Friday 45+ hours a week job. I was well respected in my field and still am. But, funding got cut one year and I was one of the unfortunate people to get laid off. It was devastating because I thought, what I am going to do? However, I had this opportunity to do something that has always been on my “bucket list”. I had the opportunity to write. As I began to spend time with my children, this idea formed into my head, so I began to write it down. Then I began to write every day. At first, I thought the story was going to be a basic story about boy and girl who meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. However, as I got into the story, I realized that I wanted to write something that will intrigue readers and get them to think about how would they deal with certain situations if they were faced with them. When I made the characters, I derived them from real-world people and situations. Thus, Grains of Truths happened.

Q: Who is your favorite character and why?
A: To me every character is my favorite because this is my baby – my first book, and a labor of love. But, if I think more deeply, Sarah and Zoe are my two favorite characters. I see parts of Zoe in me. She loves her family, and is driven and very focused. For Sarah, it is how she looks at things and tells you how it is.

Q: What are you goals as an author?
A: To create stories where people escape from the hustle and bustle of life and fall in love with characters and places. I want the readers to feel alive emotionally and tell others about their experience after experiencing my stories. I enjoy telling my stories, and I get to spend time with my “families”. I feel like I have the best of both worlds.

Q: What can we expect from you in the future?
A: I am currently writing my second book Public Truths. It’s a complex romance about a Hollywood publicist who falls for her bad boy client, a major star with a reckless past. Like Grains of Truth, this story has a lot of layers and subtext. I am just now writing it and excited to see how it finishes.