Saturday, December 19, 2015

Black Blade Blues Review

Black Blade Blues (Sarah Beauhall #1)

by J. A. Pitts

"Sarah Beauhall has more on her plate than most twenty-somethings: day job as a blacksmith, night job as a props manager for low-budget movies, and her free time is spent fighting in a medieval re-enactment group. 

The lead actor breaks Sarah’s favorite one-of-a-kind sword, and to avoid reshooting scenes, Sarah agrees to repair the blade. One of the extras, who claims to be a dwarf, offers to help. And that’s when things start to get weird. Could the sword really be magic, as the "dwarf" claims? Are dragons really living among us as shapeshifters?  

And as if things weren’t surreal enough, Sarah’s girlfriend Katie breaks out the dreaded phrase… “I love you.”  As her life begins to fall apart, first her relationship with Katie, then her job at the movie studio, and finally her blacksmithing career, Sarah hits rock bottom. It is at this moment, when she has lost everything she has prized, that one of the dragons makes their move. 

And suddenly what was unthinkable becomes all too real…and Sarah will have to decide if she can reject what is safe and become the heroine who is needed to save her world."


My husband recommended this book, so I finally decided to read it. Overall, the book was good. However, there were two things that bugged me about it: the indecisiveness of the MC and the extreme depth of detail put into what she was wearing/eating/driving, etc. I myself have learned that there can be too much detail sometimes. I was not prepared for the relationship the MC character was in. I have nothing against it, one should be allowed to love regardless of gender, it just caught me off guard (Yes, I didn't read the blurb before I read the book. My husband said it was good, so I just started reading it). All in all, it was a decent read.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Character Paintings


Recently, I colored in the newly revised world map of Midgard. It made me think of the digital paintings I've done of Maeja and Ril recently and realized that I hadn't done any art of the two main antagonists of the series, Severus and Ilivrra, since 2011. I'm not the best artist in the world, but I think I did an acceptable job.

First we have Severus Arganon Valine, eldest living son of the Emperor of Shilyka, Ensor Valine VIII. He is quite the complicated villain, oftentimes as difficult to write as a certain snarky pirate. 
Next we have Ilivarra Vicyrr, Queen of Azrith. She is a master of manipulation and cruelty, 
possibly more so than the Shilykan Empire itself.
And of course, the first two digital paintings I did of Maeja and Ril.
Are you artistic yourself? Draw up any of my characters and share them with me! I'll add 
your art to the Character Art Page! I'll also favorite it on deviantART 
(if you have an account and upload it there) and tweet/facebook about it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cover Reveal!

The treasure hunt continues in the snowy mountains of Midgard
with Opening of Lost Doors, The Chronicles of Midgard #3!
COMING SOON!


In the snow covered mountains, Odin's spear lies within a forgotten slumbering city...
Mæja and her crew must find the relics of the gods before the Empire does, but acquiring Odin's spear will be no simple task. First they must escape from the Empire's capital city, then travel deep into the icy mountains, to a dangerous, trap-filled labyrinth beneath the fabled Shrine of Ages. Here, Odin's spear remains securely hidden in the long forgotten palace of Ostegard. Mæja must first prove her worth as a Valkyrie before the city will wake and the gates open. Only then will she be able to lay her hands upon the spear.
With an army of walking corpses ravaging parts of the Midlands and the great serpent Jormungand tormenting the seas, Mæja and crew are running out of time.

Monday, November 23, 2015

New Release from Kate Squires!

Romance author Kate Squires has just released her latest novel, Tracing Hearts. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon Kindle for only $1.99 until November 30th! Grab your copy today!

Paired together as childhood pen pals, Sebastian Vaughn and Julia Bessette grow up writing back and forth. Even though they live worlds apart, their lives intersect in ways that no one could ever imagine. 

As young adults, their paths initially cross, when a concerned Sebastian pays heartbroken Julia a surprise visit. The two spend only a few short days together, but the spark is undeniable. However, tragedy comes in all forms, and soon they're separated. 

Fast forward a few years, and fate finds Army Captain Vaughn in a dangerous situation, where he’s forced to go into hiding. Out of desperation and a primal need to be near her, he unintentionally drags Julia into his treacherous world. Feeling responsible, he vows to protect her above all else, but will the cost be too high? 

Meanwhile, Julia willingly goes on the run with Sebastian, sacrificing her way of life, and her safety, for the man she hopes is the one. She worries about his rejection, but more so than that, she worries about never again feeling the way she feels when she’s with him. Can the couple make it out alive? Can they find each other in the process, or will it all be too much to bear? 
http://amzn.com/B017RUCBZM


Kate Squires was born and raised in Ohio where she still resides with her husband and children. She has always loved writing, but never, ever thought her life would lead to sitting in front of her laptop for hours on end creating stories other people would read some day. Kate has dabbled in all sorts of odd jobs ranging from dog groomer to dance instructor and even a chicken farmer, but her true passion is creating characters out of thin air and making them do her bidding. 

Currently, her list of published works are, That Kiss, its sequel, That Promise, I Will Catch You, and most recently released, Tracing Hearts! 


Visit her website for more information about her books and upcoming events. 

Connect with Kate online:
Facebook
Twitter
Website

Monday, November 9, 2015

So Amazon Opened a Bookstore...


I recently learned that Amazon opened a brick and mortar books store (from TheVerge.com). I find this pretty intriguing and really cool, especially since they said that in-store prices will be the same as online. The store opened in Seattle on November 2nd. I wish I could go and see it myself. One thing that intrigued me greatly was this:
 Amazon says that it won't entirely be doing things like a traditional store, however; it'll be relying on Amazon.com data — including customer ratings, sales totals, and Goodread's popularity — to decide which books to stock.
This is a very good reason why I say that reviews are very important to an author. It helps potential new readers decide if they want to buy a book or not. They look at star ratings. They read peoples thoughts on the book. And then they decide. This applies even more so with this pretty cool thing that Amazon is doing now.

So I ask, If you have enjoyed any of my books, would you please consider taking the time to post a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads? For an indie author like me, reviews and word-of-mouth are the most important ways to spread the word about my work and introduce new readers to my books. But I need your help! So, if you liked it, please tell your friends. Thank you for allowing me to share my stories with you. Your support and encouragement mean so much!
 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Limited Time Promo!


In honor of The Priestess Trilogy being on tour with Girls Heart Books Tours, Defiance (book 1) will be FREE on Amazon Kindle from November 2nd through November 6th! 

Inspired by the culture, history and lore of ancient Ireland, the Priestess Trilogy will sweep you into a village on the brink of war as seen through the eyes of Shiovra, a young woman destined for greater purpose. As the branches of her family tree turn to battlelines and friends turn to enemies in a bid to control the land of Éire, she is forced to learn how to balance love and duty, honor and justice, wisdom and heartache.

As her story unfolds, Shiovra stands as witness to a world that has lost its way, and, with the help of her sworn protector Odhrán, must find a way to steer them back from self destruction. 

Grab your free promo copy before its gone!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Glimpse into the Priestess Trilogy


The Priestess Trilogy was the first book series I wrote and , while classified as a fantasy series, it is more myth and romance than actual fantasy. There are some magical elements, but they are not a constant norm. Years ago, when I started writing The Priestess Trilogy, it was supposed to be one single book. However, after a publisher pointed out that it should be broken up into individual books, I decided to take their advise. Originally, The Priestess Trilogy was published as Twilight, Destiny, and Eclipse. Upon switching publishers, the trilogy when through a serious overhaul and two of the three titles were changed to better reflect the story itself, thus the trilogy became Defiance, Betrayal, and Eclipse.


Finding pictures on Pinterest for The Priestess Trilogy has been rather difficult as the story takes place in ancient Ireland (Éire), during the time of the Celts (Milidh) and the Túatha Dé Danann. I tried to find as many as I could to fit the feel of the trilogy.

 





The trilogy itself, for the most part, takes place in the Túath village of Tara and centers around Tara's High Priestess, Shiovra. Caught up in the middle of uneasy treaties between her clan and that of the Milidh, Shiovra wants nothing more than to protect her people, even from her own betrayals of her own kin.

When threats on her village and her own life loom, she decides to seek aid from her Milidh betrothed, a man she considers to be an enemy.



At her side is Odhrán, a Milidh man of many secrets who is sworn to protect her and determined to gain her trust. He can be a hard man and can be difficult to deal with, but he is a highly skilled warrior. His personality often conflicts with Shiovra's stubborn and defiant nature. 

However, as the trilogy progresses, the she learns to trust him with not only her life, but with the protection of her village.







Despite being betrothed to another, Shiovra falls into a forbidden love filled with passion. She tries to resist her feelings at first, knowing full well that her actions could risk the alliance forged between her village and that of one of the Milidh.

Nevertheless she succumbs to her desires and takes a lover.
 





As the trilogy progresses, tensions escalate between the Túath and Milidh clans, threatening the fragile peace the land of Éire has.

As conflict brews between the two clans, Tara faces not only the treat of war, but is ripped apart by betrayal from within the clan.







While maintaining her rede as a priestess, Shiovra does everything she can possible to protect her village and people from any attacks that come their way, even accepting alliances with former enemies.

When battle does reach Tara, Shiovra is faced with a difficult choice, one that ultimately changes everything she's ever known.

Want to see more pictures like these? Check out my full Pinterest board!





Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Glimpse into the Midlands

As Opening of Lost Doors draws closer to being released, I thought I would give you a glimpse into the world of Midgard and the Midlands in which the series takes place. Pinterest is an awesome source for finding pictures that fit the general themes and feel of the Chronicles of Midgard. First lets take a glance at the official world map. I spent hours working on this, making it a nice crisp and clean so that it was a beautiful replacement for the old map featured in the first two books.




Now, being that the Chronicles of Midgard has a strong Norse influence, may of the pictures I tend to pin on Pinterest are heavily Norse themed, although not all of them. 

Opening of Lost Doors will take place in the bitterly cold, snow covered mountains of the Midlands where Ostegard stands sleeping, waiting for a Valkyrie to come and wake it.

 
First off, lets look at Ril's airship, The Sacred Hart. I describe it as bearing the appearance of the long ships of old--yet it has great sails that extend out from the side and it held aloft by energy cryst powered levistones. Finding pictures of an airship that meets that description is awfully difficult, but I did manage to find this awesome one which is as close as I've gotten. :) 

It's a pretty nice looking airship, isn't it? This stunning artwork by Artozi on deviantART is far better than any I could ever do. while it isn't an exact representation of The Sacred Hart, it's a pretty darn good idea on how to picture the airship.


The Chronicles of Midgard centers around Mæja and the strange alliances she makes with a pirate, his accomplice, and two roguish rebels as they try and stop the Shilykan Empire from freeing the dark god Loki from his prison and bringing about a second Ragnarök, which would devastate the Midlands.

Mæja comes from the Vigird plain where the first Ragnarök took place. It is one of the areas most heavily influenced by Norse myth. Such is reflected in the clothing that Mæja typically wears. When she is first introduced, she is described wearing a "pinafore-like tunic with oval broaches securing the straps over a tawny colored dress tunic." 

Her clothing would be heavily embroidered with rich patterns and vibrant colors, especially when she was in her position as Jarl Woden's daughter. However, after the Empire seized control of Vigrid, her clothing was more toned down so that she could blend in easier with the townsfolk.
  
 
There are two main people who stand in the way of Mæja and crew, one of which is Severus Valine, eldest living son of the Emperor of Shilyka. He's ambitious and a military genius. His motives center around his younger brother Alistair. Severus is willing to do anything and everything to keep blood from staining his brother's hands.



 
The other is Ilivarra Vicyrr, Queen of the cavern city of Azrith and one of the Dökkálfar race. She is cruel and manipulative, even had the Emperor under her thumb. While the Shilykan Empire aspires to release Loki and harness the power another Ragnarök would bring, Ilivarra has much higher goals: ones that involve Asgard itself, home to the gods.

To make matters worse, Ilivarra's three daughters, Ayla, Verda, and Sha'uri, are as equally cunning and deadly as their mother. 

However, House Vicyrr maintains its rule by remaining in favor of the Council of Elders. Should Ilivarra or her daughters displease the council in any manner, they risk losing their position and their House.



 



As the series progresses, Mæja and crew will gather many allies who also seek to prevent another Ragnarök. Among those they have already is Amena Evenwood, the Lady of High Wood. Gifted with the sight of the Nornir, Amena will do all she can to help Mæja and crew achieve their goals, even if it means destroying her neutral stance in matters of war.

While her role has been fairly minimal in the series so far,
she will take a much larger part in the fourth installment. until then, her Knight Commander, Gorrowen Thaedras, will act in her Lady's name in the upcoming book, Opening of Lost Doors.

 

Another ally on Mæja's side is the Dvergar lord of Brightstone, Tiny Krövekks. Stout and stubborn, Tiny openly ends his alliance with the Shilykan Empire to side with Mæja and the Wolves of Odin.

The third book will also introduce Tiny's daughter, Eloen. I don't want to spoil anything involving her so I will just say that I hope fans take a liking to her.


 




In Opening of Lost Doors, Mæja will fully begin her 
role as a Valkyrie and face many trials, some of which dangerous while others emotional. 

 Time is running out to find the treasures of the gods and stop Ragnarök...Hel's army is ravaging parts of the Midlands, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.










What more, wargs have infested the High Wood and the great serpent Jormungand continues to torment the seas.

Continue to follow Mæja and crew as they fight to protect the Midlands in Opening of Lost Doors, coming this winter!

Want to see more pictures like these? Check out my full Pinterest board!






Monday, October 19, 2015

Dive Into Fantasy!


The date is drawing near for the Virtual Fantasy Con! This eight day event running from November 1st through the 8th will feature 200 authors, artists, and bloggers. There will also be panel discussions via YouTube, a Scavenger Hunt, Giveaways, and a Cosplayer Costume Contest with a daily prize for the best selfie and costume and a grand prize!
I will be taking part on the 8th (I couldn't quite decide where my books fit, lol). If you don't want to miss out on anything, simply click the link to the day(s) you want to keep up with and "join" the event to receive notifications. Have a friend of family member that might be interested? Invite them to join us!
I look forward to taking part and meeting new readers!
Nov. 1st: Sci-Fi Sunday https://www.facebook.com/events/1473590436304437/
Nov 2nd: Paranormal Monday https://www.facebook.com/events/417991071728629/
Nov 3rd: Dark Tuesday https://www.facebook.com/events/723453437799607/
Nov 4th: Epic Wednesday https://www.facebook.com/events/893446364072813/
Nov 5th: Fairytale Thursday https://www.facebook.com/events/1912656672292028/
Nov 6th: Urban Friday https://www.facebook.com/events/938111222893884/
Nov 7th: Steampunk Saturday https://www.facebook.com/events/171241949877947/
Nov 8th: YA Fantasy Sunday https://www.facebook.com/events/1109156279118158/

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Save the Date!


Save the date for the Virtual Fantasy Con! This eight day event running from November 1st through the 8th will feature 200 authors, artists, and bloggers. There will also be panel discussions via YouTube, a Scavenger Hunt, Giveaways, and a Cosplayer Costume Contest with a daily prize for the best selfie and costume and a grand prize!

This event will be taking place online at Facebook. Be sure to join the pages you want to keep up with!

Nov. 1st: Sci-Fi Sunday https://www.facebook.com/events/1473590436304437/
Nov 2nd: Paranormal Monday https://www.facebook.com/events/417991071728629/
Nov 3rd: Dark Tuesday https://www.facebook.com/events/723453437799607/
Nov 4th: Epic Wednesday https://www.facebook.com/events/893446364072813/
Nov 5th: Fairytale Thursday https://www.facebook.com/events/1912656672292028/

Nov 6th: Urban Friday https://www.facebook.com/events/938111222893884/
Nov 7th: Steampunk Saturday https://www.facebook.com/events/171241949877947/
Nov 8th: YA Fantasy Sunday https://www.facebook.com/events/1109156279118158/


 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Feeling Artsy

I have been in a somewhat artistic mood and have been doodling quite a few pics of 
my characters from my Chronicles of Midgard series. I'll share some with you below, 
but you can see my full art gallery on deviantart.com

Chibi line up of the main characters (from left to right): Linkyn, Connor, Maeja, Ril, and Mjrn

"Facing the Valkyrie" This picture of Maeja and the Valkyrie is a reflection of book two, Melody of the Dark, and the upcoming third installment, Opening of Loast Doors
Portrait of Maeja Ragnarr, the protagonist of the series
Portrait of Ril, the snarky pirate who became a fan favorite
I'm currently working on getting the third installment of the series, Opening of Lost Doors, finished and ready for (hopefully) an early winter release. If you haven't read the series yet, you can get the first book in the series, Falls the Shadow, for only 99¢ USD on Amazon Kindle. Of course, It's also in print as well, for the lovers of turning pages and the scent of paper!

Here's a teaser of the cover!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Looking For Book Bloggers!


I'm looking for book lovers who are also avid bloggers!


I'm offering an opportunity for bloggers to be part of my Early Reviewers mailing list. You won't be spammed and will only receive an e-mail when I have Advance Review Copies (ARC's) available, so we’re talking about once a year, if that. By signing up, you will receive free digital ARC copies of all upcoming releases before they are officially released. ARC copies are given away during early stages of editing, so errors will be found occasionally. If you are interested, just fill out the form here.


If you’re a reader who doesn't blog but would love to know about new releases, giveaways, or events I'm taking part in, you can sign on to my author Newsletter. I only send out Newsletters when I have new release information or events going on, so no clutter in your inbox (I hate spam and try not to spam my beloved readers)! Your info will not be sold or used for any purpose but to let you know my latest news. Sign up here.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Disappointing News

I will no longer be attending the 25th Berea Arts Fest.

This decision came quite painfully. Back in July, The Bookstore in Berea was looking to host local authors during the Berea Arts Fest. It was stated that the event would be free to participate in.

Today I received an email stating some guidelines and what to expect. Standard stuff--except for one thing: the event had gone from free to not so much. As stated in the email:

"After much consideration and encouragement from other local authors we will be handling all sales that day and will be taking only 30% of the sales from the books for the day."

I questioned the sudden fee, as it is a bit steep for an independently published author like myself. I understand fees. I have no complaint against them. You're allowing me to use your space to sell my books. Even the local library has a 10% fee when a certain amount in sale is generated. However, I do not understand how an event can go from being "FREE" to having a 30% fee. It brought me to question it, asking if there was no other alternative to the fee, perhaps even a lower percentage we could agree upon, to which she replied:

"We thought 30% was very fair. Our attorney and the Berea Arts Council advised us we had to take a percentage because it was not fair for other venders, etc."

So now the story has changed a bit involving the percentage. At this point I was being urged to withdraw. She also suggested that I markup my books and flat out told me that my pricing was "incorrect".

I know what it is like to not have a lot of money, to not always be able to get what you want, and as thus I have always kept that in mind when it came to pricing my books. I have always strove to keep my pricing affordable to my readers that I cherish so much.

And so I officially withdrew from the event.