Saturday, August 30, 2014

Captain Shelby by Jesse Giles Christiansen

Title: Captain Shelby
Author: Jesse Giles Christiansen
Publisher: Imajin Books
Pages: 211
Genre: Literary Fiction/Magical Realism
Format: Kindle

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There are places even the sea cannot go…

In coastal Denmark, a young man named Nereus builds a longship and leaves at age eighteen to discover a new, enigmatic land. Faced with unimaginable obstacles, he crosses the North Atlantic, only to be captured by the Skraelings, the Inuit indigenous people who seek revenge on all settlers because of a "Great Red Man" who murdered many of their family members.

A few years later, Nereus is hired by a group of Irish settlers who are fleeing the tyranny of King Henry VIII, and he takes them across the North Atlantic to the New Found Land. A fierce battle ensues against the sea, the Little Ice Age, and the vicious Skraelings.

When Nereus falls in love with Laura Hodges, fiancée to the group’s leader, William Brockelby, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous love triangle…until the formidable mystery surrounding Captain Nereus H. Shelby is finally revealed.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Round the Bend by Alistair McGuiness

Title: Round the Bend: From Luton to Peru to Ningaloo, a Search for Life After Redundancy
Author: Alistair McGuiness
Publisher: Matador
Pages: 256
Genre: Travel
Format: Paperback; Kindle

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From the Amazon to the Andes and Kilimanjaro to Cape Town.  
This adventure story captures the reality and exhilaration of leaving home to undertake Gap Year travel in South America, Africa, Fiji and Australia.
Three things happened simultaneously. The lioness charged, Alistair fled across the parched savannah and his wife screamed for him to run faster. Stuffed deep inside his tattered rucksack was a guidebook containing advice on what to do in wildlife emergencies, which he planned to read if he survived the next thirty seconds. Future plans to climb Kilimanjaro, teach English in the Amazon and live in Australia were temporarily forgotten as he turned to face the pouncing lioness, thinking back to the words of advice from his mother-in-law. "Don't do anything silly, and look after Francine." From deep underground in a remote Bolivian mine to the scorched Australian outback, Round the Bend is an adventure travel story. It explores the turbulence of redundancy, the excitement of travel, the anguish of leaving home and the challenges of starting a new life in Australia

Book Excerpt:

Like many adolescents, I spent my youth staring out of classroom windows wishing I was somewhere else. While the teachers handed out homework, I dreamt of travelling to faraway shores, discovering nomadic tribes and trekking to the Seven Wonders of the World.
Depending on the subject matter and the personality of the teacher, my level of concentration wavered each lesson. Geography fascinated me, maths baffled me, religion confused me and German lessons terrified me. Nothing fazed my classmate Mik Scarlet.
He was going to be a pop star and everyone in school knew it. Trivial matters like German lessons were just a minor distraction on his path to stardom. By the time we were sixteen, Mik was networking with Gary Numan and I had retired from language lessons, hoping that laminated menus with pictures would get me through a lifetime of international travel.
But fate had other plans and twenty years after failing in German I found myself on a plane heading to Ecuador for lessons in Spanish. Maybe this time it would be different and I wouldn’t gaze out of the classroom window wishing I was somewhere else.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lust by Diana Raab

Title: Lust
Author: Diana Raab
Publisher: World Tech Communications
Pages: 89
Genre: Poetry
Format: Paperback/Audible

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A passionate journey through private emotional moments, Diana Raab's LUST voices the pain of loneliness and the heart's yearning for love while transcending the depths of human desire. In her fourth book of poetry, Raab employs narrative verse that is alive, titillating, and seductive. LUST examines the emotional and physical complexity of love, helping readers navigate the risks of intimacy as we move toward the realization that every experience enriches our lives, whether we perceive it as joy, pain, or out of the ordinary. Yet for all their psychological richness, the poems's simplicity and accessibility will resonate with women and men across all walks of life. LUST is a book you won't put down and won't soon forget. 

"Diana Raab's poetry collection, LUST, will make you fall head-over- heels in love with words. Words that are strung together, knotted like a perfect strand of opera length pearls. Some read like heartbreaking short stories. Some read like pieces of your soul. Some read like scented love-letters. Some like tearful, regretful voice messages. If you want to have a love affair with the written word, please, read this collection. It will make you a believer. Or maybe ... just maybe, it will make you a believer in the pure absolute beauty of Diana Raab."--Amy Ferris 

"In the lyric tradition of Song of Songs, Rumi, Lady Murasaki, and Anais Nin, poet Diana Raab sings of carnal desire. The themes of LUST, the transcendence of sexual ecstasy, the range of its expression, the sorrow of its temporality, they surprise of its renewal in maturity, the physicality of its intimacy, are, at once, timeless and as contemporary as Raab's short leather skirt and an espresso shared at Starbucks."--Tristine Rainer 

"Diana Raab in this daring book offers what shouldn't be so remarkable, yet is, a fearless detailing of intimacy, of blissful 'acts of kindness,' of that worshipful sexuality which forms our birth- and adult-right. LUST celebrates the sacred 'everlasting eros' that we must admit most interests us, the giving and taking, the ultimate bonding, the very enlightenment through glories of the body. She sings 'your oasis in the midst of me,' and bless her for it!"--Barry Spacks  

Book Excerpt:

Love’s Awakening

What began as an urge to have you,
something primal and needy
turned into a wanting to be one with you.

I blossomed at your fingertips,
I lost myself in your wet kisses
the soft and firm way you held me

walking through the parking lot
to our cars, the grasp which told me
you promised to never let go.

I opened myself to you
like a lily when daylight arrives
and close up when night springs forth.

Behind our closed doors,
your manly motions warmed me,
all your movements of love

and the way you gave me pleasure—
careful strokes about my body
as  I became more vulnerable
under your sacred spell.

Like a rhythmic dance
our bodies became a delicious delight
of magic as I watched
your joy meet mine

underneath the moonlight
which together we watched settle
so many more times
in a lifetime which we were never able to share…

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Hidden Element by Donna Galanti

Title: A Hidden Element
Author: Donna Galanti
Publisher: Imajin Books
Pages: 226
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Format: Paperback/Kindle

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When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him.

Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown.

Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so.

Book Excerpt:

Silent dark hung under a star-filled sky.
The dark deepened as they headed into the forest. Ancient conifers towered over them, blocking out the moon. Rain fell cold and lifeless. The nearest town of Benevolence, Oregon, was five miles northwest.
Caleb Madroc’s father stood across from him, waiting for his people to gather their belongings. Their pale faces glowed like orbs within gray hooded robes as they waited for his father’s instruction.
“We head toward town,” his father ordered. Caleb opened his mouth, but there were no words for his feelings of anger and loss at suddenly leaving the only home he’d ever known. It raged inside him, a tumult of emotion he must quell for now. At least his own black hair, like his face, was a constant reminder of his mother to his father. This made him glad.
Caleb shut his mouth and nodded, stepping in behind his father. Rain fell cold and lifeless. He fell behind as he helped the womenfolk with their bags. One young female sent him a furtive, desperate look as she touched his hand in passing.
I’m so scared. What will happen to us?
He smiled at her. Keep your thoughts to yourself. It’s safer this way. All will work out once we settle. She bit her lip, her eyes full of tears, and nodded looking back down at her feet.
“Father, how much further? Some of the younger females are struggling,” Caleb said.
His father’s eyes stung him through the mist rising up from the forest floor. They were eyes so different from his, and from his mother’s. Caleb had often seen sadness and pity for his father in his mother’s eyes. The day he had found her dead in the well her eyes held only nothingness.
“Can’t we stop and rest, Adrian?” A few in the group grumbled. They looked wet and tired, a sea of gray flowing before him. His father glowered at their weakness. As Caleb scanned the sodden crowd a female smiled at his father, holding the promise of submission. Perfect for his father, who wanted to breed another son to take his place. A worthy son.
“We do not stop.” His father’s voice rose over the line of people before him, and he smiled back at the female and a strange sense of relief washed over Caleb. If his father did create a new prodigal son to groom it might remove his first born from his watchful eye.
With that thought, anguish over his mother’s absence hit him fresh again. At eighteen and bigger than his father, he still needed his mother. She had been his kindred spirit, like Uncle Brahm. But now he was alone in this strange place. No longer did he have someone to be his true self with. He must step carefully.
His father continued to scan his flock. They stood still and silent, conveying their subservience. He nodded, apparently satisfied with their response. “You all took the oath to come here. Hard work lies before us in breeding our new community. Understood?”
They nodded in a collective wave.
Just like you bred with Aunt Manta while your wife lay dead? Caleb spewed out in his head without thinking.
His father moved closer, until his flaring nostrils touched his. Caleb stepped back, but his father gripped his arm. Dozens of eyes watched their battle.
Do not ever mention my brother’s wife’s name again, Son.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Real Murder by Lauren Carr

Title: Real Murder
Author: Lauren Carr
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Pages: 302
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback/Kindle

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When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. “She’s senile,” Cameron is warned. “It’s not a real murder.”

Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady’s “girl” was a call girl, who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide.

Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The deputy had disappeared almost twenty years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute.

It doesn’t take long for the Lovers in Crime to put their cases together to reveal a long-kept secret that some believe is worth killing to keep undercover.

Book Excerpt:

“Would you like another breast, Tad?”
Dr. Tad MacMillan studied the last two bites of white meat on the chicken breast in the middle of his paper plate before answering the robust woman standing over him with a foil pan in one hand and a pair of tongs clutching a fried chicken piece in the other. He was already on his third piece.
“Come on, Tad.” His wife, Jan, urged him from across the picnic table. Her attention was divided between her husband, their three-month-old son fussing in the baby carrier on top of the table, and her long blonde hair that had abruptly become too hot on her next. “You know you want it. That’s what church picnics are for. Eating until you bust.” She clenched a hair clip in her teeth and gathered her hair together with both hands.
Entertained by the funny looking object sticking out of his mother’s mouth, Tad Jr. giggled. 
Tired of waiting for his response, the woman plopped the plump breast onto his plate and moved on to the next table to foist the remaining chicken on other picnickers.
“I’m trying to save room for Cameron’s hot fudge lava cake,” Tad said while searching the parking lot for his cousin and his wife, “if she ever comes.”
After taking the clip out of her mouth, Jan continued to make funny faces at the baby, who giggled harder. “Not to mention the ice cream that Josh is supposed to bring.”
“Where are they anyway?”
“Cameron got a lead on a murder case she was working and took off this morning.” After securing her hair up on top of her head, Jan picked Tad Junior up out of the carrier. “Josh decided to work on an opening argument that he’s giving tomorrow. He didn’t want to come without her.”
“Just like newlyweds.” Tad dove into the next piece of chicken. “I remember when you refused to go anywhere without me at your side.
“Now I don’t even notice when you aren’t there,” she confessed. “I never thought we would get this old and settled.”
“Can you really picture me being settled?” Tad let out a laugh before peeling the crispy skin off the chicken piece on his plate.
“I just hope TJ takes after me instead of you in that regard,” Jan said.
“You’re not the only one.”
While hugging their son, Jan looked across the picnic table at her husband, Dr. Tad MacMillan, the town doctor and Hancock County’s medical examiner. His salt and pepper hair brought out his blue eyes heavily framed with laugh lines. They may have been old and settled, but his laid back style and charismatic ways still caught her off guard sometimes.
Taking in the their friends and family that littered the park for the church picnic, Jan  found it hard to believe that less than a decade earlier she had resigned herself to the fact that she would never marry, let alone have a journalism career, and a fussy baby, who just threw up down the back of her shirt.
While the older members of the church congregation were helping themselves to seconds and thirds of the picnic fare, the younger and more athletic picnickers were racing paddleboats across the park’s lake. Joshua Thornton’s sixteen-year old-son Donny, the only remaining child at home, was included in that group. The boys were racing the girls.
“Faster! Pedal faster!” Donny yelled at his friend Woody.
“I’m going as fast as I can!” The chubby teenager who rarely exercised anything except his fingers while playing computer games was put out with being coerced into this activity in the first place. At least since he was partnered with Donny, a linebacker on Oak Glen High School’s football team, he stood a chance of winning the race.
“Beat you!” the girls squealed from the shore where they turned their craft around.
With a curse, Donny kicked at the pedals and sat back to let the sun shine on his face.
The paddleboat rocked when Woody leaned over the side to peer into the water. “Hey, what’s that?”
“What?” Donny replied without opening his eyes.
“Down there.”
“Down where?”
Woody nudged him in the arm. “In the water. It looks like a car.”
Opening his eyes, Donny sat up. “So someone tossed their old car into the lake. Happens all the time.”
“Do the police dump their old cruisers in the lake, too?”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Metatron: The Mystical Blade by Laurence St. John

Title: Metatron: The Mystical Blade
Laurence St. John
Publisher: Imajin Books
Pages: 102
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Thirteen-year-old Tyler Thompson is on the verge of becoming a superhero, but he must prove himself so he can earn the remainder of his superpowers and fulfill his destiny.

When his grandfather, Benjamin, is held prisoner at AREA 51, where the eternal powers are presumed to be hidden, Tyler attempts to penetrate the base’s heavy security. However, Dr. Mason Payne, the evil scientist who killed Tyler's father, has insidious plans of his own.

Hunted by an unknown entity, Tyler races against the clock to retrieve the superpowers, rescue his family and help the others who are depending on him. And when all hope seems lost, help comes in a power he didn’t know he possessed—a mysterious weapon known as The Mystical Blade.

Book Excerpt:

If Tyler Thompson had known how tough it was to be a superhero, he might never have gotten involved in the first place. Sure, it was cool having Flash speed and super vision and all that, but there was a lot of pressure, and you couldn’t tell anyone. Not to mention that every time he went out he took his life in his hands and the whole thing was exhausting. Who knew that superheroes got tired? He wasn’t sure if being a superhero was a gift or a curse.

So when he heard a cry on the way home from another night of whupping Las Vegas bad guys, he wasn’t exactly in the mood for more trouble. In fact, he was tempted to ignore it. But superheroes never ignore people in trouble, no matter what. And while he wasn’t one hundred percent superhero yet, he’d never get there if he didn’t do his duty.

There it was again, a piercing, high-pitched cry from above, this time followed by the distinct sound of two loud gunshots reverberating off the high-rise buildings. A split second after that, there came the horrific wail of someone in severe pain. Tyler wondered if such noises really could wake the dead, and an image of his dad flickered through his mind. At least his dad’s murderer, Dr. Mason Payne, the evil scientist who had tried to kill him too, was safely in jail.

But there was no time for musing. From Hacienda Avenue Tyler looked up at the multi-story Mandalay Bay parking garage and spotted someone bending backwards over a concrete wall. The person’s arms were hanging downward, creating the impression that they were preparing to dive backwards. Then a pair of glasses and a set of keys dropped and landed in the flower bed at the base of the structure.

In a flash Tyler was at the top floor of the garage. With his heart racing, he hid behind a cold and damp concrete partition, then peeked out. About ninety feet away he caught a glimpse of a parked silver-colored BMW 760 with the driver’s side door open. Two tall, stocky men were standing behind it. Tyler ducked back behind the partition, threw back his black hood and removed his ski mask so he could wipe away an eyelash. Another thing they didn’t tell you about being a superhero. Tyler muttered under his breath, pulled his mask back over his face and flung the hood over his head just as a rush of adrenaline flooded his body.

He’d pay for this later, but it didn’t matter because everyone was counting on him. He’d made a promise to his dad, and he wasn’t about to let him down. His mom, brother and sister would be expecting big things from him, and Kendall, Master Tanaka and his friend Gabriel were all watching him. Most of all, there was God, who’d given him these powers for a reason and who was surely expecting a lot from a thirteen-year-old boy, even one who had Flash speed, an impenetrable force field and an extraordinarily high intellect. But he couldn’t think about all that now. The world was in trouble, and he had to fix it.

Song From the Ashes by Megan Whitson Lee

Title: Song From the Ashes
Author: Megan Whitson Lee
Publisher: eLectio Publishers
Pages: 350
Genre: Christian Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

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Attorney Landon Kingsley craves order and normalcy, and aside from his well-hidden vice of smoking, he lives the life that everyone expects from him in his hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee. Recently engaged to beautiful nursing student, April May, Landon’s new fiancée is everything he could want in a wife. She is devoted to her faith and family and truly loves him.

April’s cousin, Ella Casey, has returned to Kingsport after ten years of pursuing a career as a country music singer in Nashville. Ella’s failed career and affair with a married music producer scandalizes her in the eyes of the town, but her legal troubles drive her to Landon for help. Landon finds himself increasingly attracted to Ella and more discontent than ever with the path he has chosen for his life. Amid a firestorm of family and town gossip, Landon is tormented by his past and the complicated decision of whether to listen to God’s voice or follow his own desires.

SONG FROM THE ASHES, a modern retelling of the classic Edith Wharton novel The Age of Innocence, explores the dilemma between the pursuit of dreams and personal happiness versus contentment in God’s plan for marriage and love.

Book Excerpt:

The snow was already forming crusts on the unsalted parts of the road that January evening. The weathermen had talked of a dusting, or perhaps even showers, but the severity of the precipitation was wholly unexpected.  It was only a high school event—a talent show held at the local civic center. Even so, Landon Kingsley was upset with himself and his late arrival. Landon always made a point of being on time, but tonight he had lingered over the reading of a brief. At least that was how he rationalized it. In all honestly, he hadn’t wanted to stub out his cigarette prematurely. He always enjoyed a smoke when his mind was preoccupied.

Landon knew his girlfriend and her parents would be waiting for him. He slipped into the rear of the auditorium and scanned the mass of people for April and her family. She had texted that they were sitting near the front, and he cringed thinking that would make his entrance all the more embarrassing—everyone would see him entering late.

April’s two younger sisters were both in high school, and although he had not heard them sing, Landon understood they were talented. In fact, April’s Aunt Julia informed him that the entire family possessed great musical talent.

“On her daddy’s side of the family, everyone tends toward musical talent in piano and guitar. On her mama’s side, nearly everyone has beautiful singing voices—especially that Ella—she’s out in Nashville right now, you know. She’s been out there for years singing country music. I guess she does all right.”

Landon had never met Ella, but he had heard about her, and he understood that through some circumstance or other she would actually be attending the talent show that night.
As he made his way down the sloping aisle, he saw familiar faces—many of them flashing him a smile and a wave. In a town of this size, people knew each other or at least knew of one another. Part of the tri-cities area in Northeastern Tennessee consisting of Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol, Kingsport was the second largest of the three—a town of around fifty-thousand that had grown a little over the years but was no booming metropolis either. It retained a small-town feel, a place where people still smiled and greeted one another on the streets. A town where people spent their whole lives. Retirees from up north settled down there, and people who had lived there most or all of their lives called it home and heaven. The downside was that gossip spread like wildfire, and no one was ever free from the scrutiny of folks who wanted what you had or who didn’t think you had enough.

Lieutenant Henry Gallant by H. Peter Alesso

Title: Lieutenant Henry Gallant
Author: H. Peter Alesso
Publisher: Video Software Publishing
Pages: 320
Genre: Science fiction space opera
Format: Paperback/Kindle

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In an era of genetic engineering, Lieutenant Henry Gallant is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. Many of his superiors, including rival Anton Neumann, have expressed concern he is not up to the challenge. However, his unique mental abilities have proven essential to the defense of the United Planets in its fight against the Titan invaders.

Serving on the first FTL prototype, the Intrepid, on its maiden voyage to Tau Ceti, Gallant finds a lost colony on the planet Elysium. Cyrus Wolfe and his son, manipulate planet politics against the democratic opposition led by James Hepburn and his granddaughter Alaina. Wolfe has allied himself with an ancient Artificial Intelligence which had lain dormant on the planet for millennia, but is now willing to protect the colonists against the Titans.

With Alaina’s help, Gallant discovers the ancient AI has a sinister ulterior motive and he matches his unique and exceptional mind against the complexity of machine intelligence to escape the ultimate trap and prevent the extermination of humanity.

In Lieutenant Henry Gallant, one man pits the naked human mind against the perspicacity of machine intelligence.

Book Excerpt:

Gallant ran—gasping for breath, heart pounding; the echo of his footsteps reverberated behind him.

He hoped to reach the bridge, but hope is a fragile thing.

Peering over his shoulder into the dark, he tripped on a protruding jagged beam, one of the ship’s many battle scars. As he crashed to the deck, the final glow of emergency lights sputtered out leaving only the pitch black of power failure—his failure.

He lay still and listened to the ship’s cries of pain; the incessant wheezing of atmosphere bleeding from the many tiny hull fissures, the repetitious groaning of metal from straining structures, and the crackling of electrical wires sparking against panels.

Thoughts flashed past him.

How long will the oxygen last?

He was reluctant to guess.

Where are they?

He heard the clamor of dogged footsteps drawing closer even as he rasped for another breath.

Trembling from exhaustion, he clawed at the bulkhead to pull himself up. His hemorrhaging leg made even standing brutally painful.

Nevertheless; he ran.

He heard the clamor of dogged footsteps drawing closer even as he rasped for another breath.

Trembling from exhaustion, he clawed at the bulkhead to pull himself up. His hemorrhaging leg made even standing brutally painful.

Nevertheless; he ran.

The bulkhead panels and compartment hatches were indistinguishable in the dimness. Vague phantoms seemed to lurk nearby even while his eyes adjusted to whatever glowing plasma blast embers flickered from the hull.

As he twisted around a corner, he crashed his shoulder into a bulkhead. The impact knocked him back and spun him around. Reaching out with a bloody hand, he grasped the hatch handle leading into the Operation’s compartment. Going through the hatch, he pulled it shut behind him.

He started to run, then awkwardly fought his own momentum and stopped.

Stupid! Stupid!

Going back to the hatch, he hit the security locking mechanism.

It wouldn’t stop a plasma blast, but it might slow them down, he thought. At least this compartment is airtight.

Finally able to take a deep breath, he tried to clear his head of bombarding sensations. He should’ve been in battle armor, but he’d stayed too long in engineering trying to maintain power while the hull had been breached and the ship boarded.

Now his uniform was scorched, revealing the plasma burns of seared flesh from his left shoulder down across his back to his right thigh. He had no idea where the rest of the crew was; many were probably dead. His comm pin was mute and the ship’s AI wasn’t responding. He had only a handgun, but, so far, he didn’t think they were tracking him specifically, merely penetrating into the ship to gain control.

Gallant tried to run once more, but his legs were unwilling. Leaning against the bulkhead, like a dead weight, he slid slowly down to the deck.

Unable to go farther, he sat dripping blood and trembling as the potent grip of shock grabbed hold. The harrowing pain of his burnt flesh, swept over him.

Monday, August 11, 2014

PUYB Chats with 'I Wish' E.B. Tatby

E.B. Tatby was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. She is living her life-long dream of being an Author and is passionate about inspiring others (especially teens) to follow their dreams. Above all, she wants to remind them of the power to wish.

I Wish, a YA story, is her first published novel. She is currently working on a sequel.

For More Information
About the Book:

All her life, sixteen-year-old Kenza Atlas has heard the stories, but she never believed them. She never expected the allure of power or, worse, how far the dark shadows could cast. Genies and wishing are for fairy tales, not teenage girls, and especially not in Omaha.

But when a Moroccan jinn with undulating tattoos and mysterious black eyes whisks her 500 years back in time, she witnesses the death of her powerful ancestor and the gorgeous slave she loved. They sacrificed themselves to escape the Caliph, a tyrant named Mazin.

And now he’s after Kenza.

He’s tracked her to her present time. Now she spends her days stealing paranoid glances over her shoulder, obsessing over a slave who died hundreds of years ago, and praying her family will survive.

For More Information

Thanks for joining us at the book club, E.B.!  We are so excited about your new release, I Wish.  How did you end up in the YA fantasy genre?

E.B.: YA books tend to move very fast and introduce new ways of looking at the world, and YA readers know what they want. They are very selective about where they spend their time reading. For me, that makes it more challenging because the bar is high, but I love writing for this genre and can't imagine writing for any other.
When it comes to fantasy, we don't know what we don't know. Technology has opened a lot of doors, making the impossible possible. Fantasy allows us to open our minds to unknown possibilities in that way, too. 

Was it hard writing from the viewpoint of a sixteen-year-old?  Did you have to do any research to find the right voice?

E.B.: My daughters, 11 and 19, have been my inspiration for writing I Wish and writing in the YA genre in general. I'll never forget the day my oldest said, "Mom, let's write a book." I had no idea what we were getting into when I said yes because writing a book is a huge commitment, but it has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Needless to say, the girls have contributed plot ideas, character names, and also helped make sure the teens in I Wish have an authentic voice. 

Can you give us a few of Kenza Atlas’ loves and hates?

E.B.: I'll start with hates. Those always seem more interesting. Kenza is a strong intelligent down-to-earth person. She detests small talk and overly emotional needy people. She also refuses to hear her dad's story about Moroccan jinns, until one of them visits her and whisks her 500 years back in time.

On the flip side, Kenza loves learning new things and exploring her world. She is very loyal to her family and friends.

They say that every book has a few pivotal points (or should) where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one of yours?

E.B.: My favorite moment (and a favorite for many teen readers, from what I hear) is when Kenza finds out she is going to get to spend a lot of time with a handsome gentle soul that she met through very unusual circumstances. In fact, she never expected to get to spend more time with him and she still can't believe it will really happen.

What’s next for you, E.B.?  More YA fantasies?

E.B.: I am currently working on a sequel to I Wish called I Could that will be released in late 2015. I am also working on a futuristic science fiction story with no announced release date at this time. This story is really interesting to me because these kinds of stories have not traditionally been written in the YA genre, especially not with a female protagonist.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with 'Two Empty Thrones' C.H. MacLean

To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.
With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. 

“Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is the YA fantasy, Two Empty Thrones.

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About the Book:

With her powers growing every day, fourteen-year-old Haylwen Rightad thinks she’s safe in the magical forest. And now that she finally has the friends she
always wanted, what is there to be afraid of?

But she’s not out of the woods yet. Old enemies rip through her beloved forest, threatening to haul Haylwen and her newfound friends away. Their safety shattered, Haylwen and her friends are suddenly at each other’s throats. Is the friendship she worked so hard for already ruined, or is there another, unseen enemy at work?

Haylwen and her brother must unmask this mysterious enemy before they can fight it off. But even if all their enemies are destroyed, the King of the magic users will stop at nothing to ensure he’s still in power when the dragons take over the world. And he’s hidden an enemy where Haylwen would never think to look. 

If no one is what they seem, who can she trust?

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Welcome to the book club, C.H.! Can you tell us what got you interested in the YA fantasy genre?

C.H.: I like fantasy as it allows a real exploration of an unlimited set of potential conflicts. Similarly, young adulthood is the time when life’s decisions are the sharpest, at the cusp of first discovering who you are. But I didn’t set out to write in a particular category. I really just write the stories as they come to me.

Your book, Two Empty Thrones, is the second book in the Five in Circle series.    Can you tell us a little about the series as a whole?

C.H.: As a whole, the series tells how the present world will be utterly transformed when the dragons return. We follow fourteen year-old Haylwen as she, her brother and their friends realize they not only live in this world-changing time, but could be important. Haylwen and her friends have to choose if they will safely slide into slavery or if they really are powerful enough to save the world.

Can you tell us about your heroine, Haylwen Rightad?  What are her strengths and what are her weaknesses?

C.H.: Like everyone, her strengths are her weaknesses. She's powerful, but that means she has to learn self-control, especially when you are talking about throwing fireballs. She's compassionate, but that opens her to manipulation or trying to help when it isn't wanted. Her youth even lets her ignore authority's impossibilities, which really are there for a reason. Time travel and matter manipulation really are inherently dangerous.

Can you tell us a little about the secondary characters in your book?

C.H.: Haylwen's brother, Cadarn, is an asocial nerd but even more powerful than she is. Her parents, Abrennin and Crystyn, each have a complicated past with a Romeo and Juliet story. A couple other favorite minor characters are Feabee O'Park, Crystyn's friend, and her twin boys, Oakren and Doakren, and Tommy, another of Haylwen's friends with a dark past. Then there are the dragons...

They say every book has a pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one of yours?

C.H.: Of course, I was hooked at the Prologue, but chapter three called Cold Creek, is when Two Empty Thrones really sinks its teeth in. Of course, that's literally for the characters.

What’s next for you, C.H.?

C.H.: I am just finishing writing We the Three, the third book in the series. I recently finished another book entitled Fire Above, a story about a young man who dared to dream and started the first human-dragon war. It is currently going through the first round of edits.