Books/book review/Fantasy/fiction/Romance

Sings the Dragon?

Dragon Song Book Cover Dragon Song
(Dawn of the Dragon Queen, 1)
Tara West
paranormal, YA, coming of age, science fiction, fantasy, urban
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
(11 Oct. 2015)

Duncan MacQuoid, dragonslayer, is no more. In his place is a tortured man seeking solace for his sins. One fateful night he finds a woman he believes will be his salvation. Little does he know, his love for her could be his final undoing. Fiona Firesblood, dragon-shifter and noble queen, will stop at nothing to protect her child, even if it means she must sever the bond with her mate, Duncan MacQuoid, the one man she loves above all others, and the one man whose past could destroy them all. Safina Firesblood, daughter of a cursed union between dragon and dragonslayer, has grown into a young woman, a powerful dragon princess in her own right. She’s given one chance at true love; will she risk the dragon queen’s wrath or resign herself to an eternity of sorrow?


Once upon a time there lived the last of the Dragon Queens and her single offspring – Fiona.

Fiona and her mother lived in a cave near a small (medieval) village and Fiona was lonely, so she assumed her human form and went into the village to find a friend and also to heal disease. She is befriended by Davinda, who is a Druid. Fiona’s father was human and according to her mother, he rejected them and left them. Fiona had a child herself – Safina – and because of her concerns over human acceptance as she herself was rejected by her human partner on his learning of her true form, she arranged that they should be’ buried’ at sea ‘until the world was ready to accept dragons’.

Acceptable for the younger YA age range as rather simplistic story-telling.


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Books/book review/Fantasy

When secrets turn bad

Fatal Family Secrets Book Cover Fatal Family Secrets
The files
Samantha Marks
paranormal, NA, coming of age, science fiction, fantasy, urban

What if, with a simple thought, you could change everything about yourself? On the first day of high school, Kayleigh wishes she could be taller, curvier, and cooler. But when she discovers she’s a morph -- shape-shifters who can become anyone or anything -- the boundaries around personality, sexuality, and gender identity are blurred. Suddenly, everything is fair game. But there are those who want to control Kayleigh and her gifts. Overnight, she becomes a target, and surviving the school year means defending herself against cyber-bullies, learning to control her newfound powers, and hiding from the ancient secret society that kidnapped her mother. Morphing has consequences, and Kayleigh begins to realize that being able to change into anything can mean losing herself in the process. After all, in a world full of morphs, rules are meant to be broken...

Just what was the secret that this Irish family had hidden for so many years? And why did they need a genealogy chart?

And which Irish myths are real stories lost in the mist of time and yet oral tales survive? And if course, which are just that – myths?

So we have a story about shapeshifters but not one in the usual vein. And a type of morphology that doesn’t happen in every generation.

A well told coming of age story.

This book was given free in exchange for a review. 3.75

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The Dead are Restless

Questions for Authors: Chris Dubecki Unquiet Dead

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
The original idea for The Unquiet Dead came from a pen-and-paper role-playing game I was designing, The Hidden World, which is a modern fantasy game in the vein of White Wolf’s World of Darkness, where the supernatural is unknown to most people and goes on just beneath the surface of society.

The story for The Unquiet Dead was sparked by a little module I’d written for players new to the game, about a haunted cemetery. One of the great things about this was that I already had a complex world, with a deep history and magic system, already in place.

The main character, Ty, had to be a necromancer because I’ve never seen ‘necromancy’ presented like it is in The Hidden World setting, and I really wanted to bring that unique experience across. Also, I’ve found very little urban fantasy set in Canada, so setting in Toronto, my home city, was a good choice. Finally, I also loved the fact that he’s a geek, and he’s fairly genre-savvy – two traits I’ve rarely seen in urban fantasy protagonists.

  1. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
This varies wildly from book to book. Some ideas click right away, and I can just start writing. Others take more time to stew before I think they’re ready. I’ve got dozens of files on my computer and literally thousands of scraps of paper and notebook pages covered in one-line notes, doodles, and even whole scenes written out. Keeping them all organized is impossible, but I like to look through them and revisit old notes, anyway. They often spark new ideas.

  1. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

My research before writing is very minimal. Instead, I look things up as I go. I’m not much for planning too far ahead, so usually I don’t know what I might need to research until I get to it. The Unquiet Dead didn’t need too much research, in any case. One of my current WIPs, though…that required reading up on a lot of aspects of 1920s New York and birth defects like those caused by thalidomide. It was interesting and eye-opening, though.

  1. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

I know some people frown on this, but Wikipedia is a great resource. It just isn’t my only resource. You can look up the cited sources in a Wikipedia article to get more information, and that helps me find more detailed information, if I need it.

  1. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

I found my contacts and resources very helpful. I was lucky enough to already know people working in fields I had questions for (police officer, psychiatrist, and TTC street car operator were the main ones).

  1. How many times have you been rejected before your debut novel was accepted?

The Unquiet Dead wasn’t my first manuscript, but it was the first book I tried to get published. I racked up over 70 (~77, I think) rejections from publishers and agents until I was picked up by Curiosity Quills.

  1. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

I’ve never really considered self-publishing as an option for myself, to be honest.

  1. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Someday. Someday.

  1. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

Hopefully I’ll have an awesome answer to this question one day.



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By the light of a ghost – author BC Johnson explains

Questions for Author BC Johnson: Ghostlight

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Ghostlight is about a pretty classic theme: the evil that men do. It's basically the idea that a normal-looking group of young men can be capable of some truly heinous stuff. I remember reading a news story awhile back about a football team that sexually assaulted a girl at a party, and then recorded themselves describing just what they did to her / thought of her.

It horrified me, obviously, but it's also just shocking and mundane. They were so casual about what they'd done, so pleased with themselves and effortlessly cruel. We like to think of evil as hiding in the shadows, as wearing a set of horns and polishing a sinister white cat, but that just isn't so. The true ugliness is right there, right where we live.

I'd say my approach is different or at least semi-unique because the evil in the book is being performed by normal humans, and the good is being done by a supernatural undead person. So that was kind of fun to play with.
  1. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
My "system" is chaos married to madness.  Some books I've spent months (even years) thinking about before I typed a single word, and others began only with a cursory notion before I leaped into the first chapter. The first Deadgirl came to me all at once, beginning and end, and I typed it out and figured out logistics as I went.  Deadgirl: Ghostlight came to me in bits and pieces; I'd been thinking about it for at least a year. Then I meticulously outlined and plotted the story, scene by scene, which is not even remotely how the first book was written.

For notes, it's all over the place. I have a two silver boxes full of index cards on my desk, where I put "Current Project" ideas and "Other Project" ideas. I also use Microsoft OneNote, or I email ideas to myself, or I sketch them out on the backs of flyers or napkins or Ikea instruction booklets. The rest is done with Scrivener as I write the book. It's a wonder I get anything written at all.
  1. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
I try do enough research to seem like I know what I'm talking about, but no so much that it'll stifle me. If facts get in the way of a good story, I'll blow them up, I honestly have no problem with that. It's a hard line to walk, but entertainment is more important to me than getting minutia straight.

But, I'll generally take a few weeks to brush up on the really important stuff in my story. Make sure I'm comfortable with it. Luckily, the Deadgirl books co-opt a lot of my own experience in junior high and high school, so I don't have to reach too far.

There's a big chunk of Deadgirl: Ghostlight that's about drama class and live theater, and I was IN Drama in junior high and I worked in live theatre for nine years. Didn't have to do much research for that, obviously.
  1. What resources do you use for research? In general and for the last book that you wrote?
I go big to small. I start with somewhere like Wikipedia, which is a great place to get the general sketch of something. Then I use the listed sources and try to dig closer to the specifics. If I can get a book about the subject I prefer that way, but I'll watch YouTube "how to" videos or published medical pieces online or even Reddit AMAs ("Ask Me Anything") from experts who seem knowledgeable. Obviously I try to double-check facts I get online, but it's a lot easier to get real information if you've got an eye for it.
  1. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?
Human mathematics wasn't designed to calculate that kind of number. It's high though. Dozens upon dozens of times from agents, and then once I got an agent (the wonderful ladies at the Belcastro Literary Agency), I got rejections from tons of publishers. It's just part of the game. Then, when it finally did get published, the first publisher went out of business. Curiosity Quills not only picking it up, but greenlighting three sequels, felt like some kind of crazy mushroom-induced unicorn dream.
  1. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?
There are plenty of self-published authors who are very successful (more successful than me, for sure), so take this advice with a huge boulder of salt.

But, for me, I would recommend trying to get published traditionally first. Self-publishing is always out there for you, it's something you can turn to at any time. In fact, I have a few things of my own self-published, just because I wanted to see how that side of things worked (also because one of my books was super, duper weird and publishers couldn't make heads or tails of it).

The self-published market is absolutely flooded to the eyeballs, and it's difficult to draw attention to your work unless you already have an audience from some other venue. If you have a popular food blog and you want to write a story about a cook who travels the world, I'd 100% recommend self-publishing and then marketing to your food blog audience. Then, if it gets big enough, approaching publishers would be a great route.

If you're just another non-famous urban fantasy author (like myself), standing out without a publisher or agent to help you is going to be a job of work. There's a huge element of luck – right place, right time, right person who reads it and shares it with their audience. Plus, some reviewers don't even review self-published stuff, which makes an already difficult marketing job even harder.

I'd say just try traditional publishing. Send out a bunch of query letters (you'll get a cornucopia of rejections, don't take them personally) – it's free, after all. The only price is time and incipient carpal tunnel. If it doesn't work out, no harm, no foul, and you can self-publish and start building your audience.

However, it's totally dependent on your temperament, your subject, and your lot in life. If you're a go-get-'em type-A person then self-publishing might be a hoot, a personal challenge to be conquered.

I'm more of the "drink quietly and make up stories" type of writer, and I need those beautiful Type-As to make it work for me. And I love them for it.

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The Ghost of the Dead?


Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Urban-fantasy

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release­­: May 16, 2016

Cover Artist: Andrea García

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads


Transformed into a “phantom” by her own titanic will to live, Lucy must feed on the essence, memories, and emotions of others to keep herself solid. After defeating her Grim Reaper and learning that she could survive without hurting people, Lucy thought the madness was finally over.

Her cravings for essence under control, Lucy tries to live a normal life. Apparently you have to be alive for that to work, though, as Lucy learns that one of her friends is more than she appears. She insists that Lucy, with her ghostly abilities and tentative immortality, can join her in the fight to help those in need.

Thrust into the role of teenage savior, Lucy Day finds herself battling a pack of voyeuristic serial killers, a mysterious and deadly wraith, and the idea that she might actually have to start dating again sometime this century.

About The Author:

Born in Southern California, B.C. Johnson has been writing since he realized it was one of the few socially acceptable ways to tell people a bunch of stuff you just made up off the top of your head. He attended Savanna High School in Anaheim, and an undisclosed amount of college before deciding that weird odd jobs were a far greater career path.

This lead him to such exciting professions as: aluminium recovery machinist, lighting designer, construction demo, sound mixer, receptionist, theater stage hand, wedding security, high school custodian, museum events manager, webmaster, IT guy, copywriter, and one memorable night as the bouncer at a nightclub. He is trying very hard to add “vampire hunter” and “spaceship captain” to that list.

He currently lives in Garden Grove with his supernal wife Gina, his half-corgi, half-muppet dog Luna, and his new half-greyhound, half-living-tornado-of-destruction Kaylee. He also spends time with his two brothers, his parents, and his close friends, whose primary pursuit are usually healthy debates about movie minutia. When he’s not working or writing, he’s been to known to pursue all conceivable geeky avenues of interest including but not limited to video games, the sort of TV shows/movies Benedict Cumberbatch might star in, graphic novels, podcasts, funny gifs, the whole thing.

He’s also been known to apply his special brand of hyperbole and mania to pop-culture humor essays for various websites that can be found on his homepage, B.C. also has a high school noir short story called “The Lancer” available on Kindle

Deadgirl is his first novel.

Find the author Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Curiosity Quills Press (CQ) is a small hybrid publishing company specializing in genre fiction of the highest quality. With 150+ titles in our catalog already and approximately 6 new books coming out each month, there’s never a dull moment at CQ. We work with major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible to ensure that you, the reader, can find whatever you are looking for at your convenience.

Founded in 2011 by Eugene Teplitsky and Lisa Gus, CQ was initially a resource portal for writing and publishing, created in an effort to help writers, like themselves, survive the publishing industry. After rapid success, CQ morphed into publishing press that over time has solidified its share in the market. Now we spend our days searching for the next great escape!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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