Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day

From Wikipedia
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.[1] The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May,[2] was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.[1] It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
With that said... Happy Memorial Day. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cover Reveal and Saturday Scenes Chapter Two: Scene 6

As you all know, I've been through a few covers for Coal because a great cover can a big difference in snagging new readers. Well I've found the one. So I interrupt the next section of Coal to reveal the new fabulous cover. 

For another bonus, Coal is available for pre-orders on Amazon!!! Woohoo!!! Happy Dance.  Get your copy today because after July 25 the price will increase.


Without further delay, here is Chapter Two of Coal:




Chapter Two


On horseback, Coal followed Chalcedony away from Legacy, through the town square and into the royal forest. After a few miles, they came upon a lake.

“We can leave the horses here. We have to walk the rest of the way.” She bent down and put her hands in the water. “Remember this place?” 

“Yeah.” The sound of waves falling onto the shore mingled with the chirping of the birds and created a melody that made Coal feel like they were the only people left in the world. “We used to get in so much trouble for using your portal to come here to swim.”

“Well, we’re a little bit ahead of schedule. Do you want to go swimming?”

“We didn’t bring any swim clothes.”

She gave Coal a wicked grin. “Never stopped us before.”

“That was a long time ago.” Coal glanced nervously at Chalcedony’s chest before he quickly averted his eyes. “We’ve changed since then.”
Chalcedony tilted her head to the side. “We haven’t changed that much.”
She walked towards the lake and took off her clothes. At least she was wearing underwear. “You’re trying to get me killed aren’t you? What if Madoc is watching?”

“Don’t worry about Madoc. He promised he’d let me do anything I wanted today. And right now this is what I want to do.”

It had been a while since he’d been swimming, Coal thought, as he stripped down to his underclothes and followed her into the water.

***

After being picked up and thrown into the water more times than she counted, Chalcedony ran out of the lake and sat on the grass. It had been a while since she’d done anything merely for fun, and she was glad Coal had warmed up to the idea of going to the human realm. The rift that had been growing between them over the past few months had finally closed.

Coal left the lake and sprinted towards her. She was seventeen, one year older than Coal, and until recently she’d always towered over him. Her growth had slowed and she would look this way for the next fifty years. But Coal continued to grow, and surprisingly he’d caught up to her.

His ebony skin glistened in the midmorning sun as he stood above her. “You give up?” He laughed, one dimple forming on each cheek.

Madoc’s rule number eight: never admit defeat. So she changed the subject. “One of your braids has come undone.” Chalcedony sat up and patted her lap. “Come here. I’ll re-braid it.”

He appeared as if he was going to refuse but sat down and laid his damp head on her lap anyway. She undid the rest of the braid before passing her fingers through his thick hair to remove any kinks. Then she grabbed a small section and separated it into three before she began. “It took you forever and a day to learn how to braid. You were the worst student,” Chalcedony said as she worked.

“I didn’t want to learn. I liked it better when you did it.”

“You have gotten better, though.”

“I didn’t have a choice. You’ve been too busy to do it,” Coal said.

“Madoc thinks it’s beneath me to braid my own hair. He most definitely didn’t like it when I braided yours.”

Coal tensed beneath her fingers at the mention of Madoc, so she changed the subject. “I love how your hair makes a halo around your head. For years, I tried to get my hair to match yours. But it’s only darker, not curlier.”

“Mmm,” he murmured, sounding content and halfway asleep.

She couldn’t blame him for being suspicious about this trip. He’d been correct. She was supposed to leave him in the human realm. Agreeing to leave Coal behind was the only way she could get Madoc’s approval to bring him along with her. Her coronation was in two weeks and she needed to relax. Coal was the only person she relaxed with because he was the only person who didn’t expect her to be perfect. Lying to her advisor wasn’t something she did often, but there was only so much arguing she could do.

Coal’s even breathing told her he’d fallen asleep. She’d forgotten how having his hair braided lulled him to sleep—once she’d learned how to avoid painful tangles.
She bent down and whispered in his ear. “I’m finished, Coal.”

He turned his head, but he didn’t open his eyes. She placed her hand on his forehead and studied his delicate lips, wondering if they were as soft as they seemed. She forced the thought out of her head and stood, causing Coal’s head to drop from her lap and fall onto the ground.

“Ouch.” He patted the side of his head. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry.” Chalcedony staggered towards her clothes before she dressed. “We need to go. It’s getting late.”

Kissing Coal was the last thing she needed to be thinking about. She stared ahead, avoiding Coal’s gaze. Everything’s complicated enough.

***

“What’s wrong, Chaley?” Coal asked. Her relaxed, playful mood had vanished. What had happened while he slept? What had startled her?

“Nothing’s wrong,” Chalcedony insisted. “We just need to hurry.”

“Which way?” Coal asked, happy to be off the horse and traveling by foot. His butt and inner thighs were beginning to chafe from the saddle.

Chalcedony pointed to a bridge about a mile away through a small opening between the trees. “It’s just over the bridge. I’ll race you.”

She sprinted away before he answered. Relieved she had cheered up, Coal didn’t think to run after her until she had already left.

Halfway to the bridge, his legs burned and begged for him to stop. But instead of slowing, his pride pushed him faster and closer to Chalcedony. She twisted her head and grimaced when she saw him nearing. Chalcedony hated to lose. Elves were natural runners and predators, unlike humans, but he’d been running with Chalcedony and other elves for as long as he’d been here. He’d never won, but it never stopped him from trying.

He broke through the trees and into a clearing. The bridge was only a few feet away. With fewer trees, he was able to run fast enough to pass Chalcedony.

Looking to the side, he saw she was half a step behind him. He glanced back towards the bridge, just before colliding into it.

Chalcedony was on the bridge a fraction of a second later.

“I beat you,” he gasped. “For the first time, I beat you.”

“You nearly killed yourself trying to do it.” She stood next to him, steady and calm. A thin layer of sweat prickled the skin above her top lip, but she wasn’t breathing nearly as hard as him.

“I still beat you.”

Chalcedony stepped behind him with a knife at his throat before he thought to move or defend himself.

“If we were fighting, you would have won a battle but lost the war. You no longer have any strength to combat me.” The metal was cold and sharp against his neck.

Coal sobered, his breath finally under control. “Is that what you think?”

She let the knife prick his skin. “Yes.”

He grabbed Chalcedony’s wrist and twisted it, making her drop the knife. Then he pushed her onto the grass. “Hasn’t Tetrick taught you not to underestimate your enemy?” he asked, standing above her, feeling cocky and triumphant. Chalcedony swung her legs at Coal’s ankles and he fell on his back. She rolled onto him, laughing and straddling him with her knees. Her long, dark hair hung over the side of her face.

“Are we enemies?”

“Madoc says everyone is your enemy,” Coal answered.

“Is he right?” she asked. “Are you my enemy?”

Coal lifted himself onto his elbows and gazed into her eyes. “Chaley, I would die for you.”

She bent down and touched her lips to his. She tasted salty, but the kiss was sweet, and it awakened a hunger that had been brewing for longer than he wanted to acknowledge.



Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review: DAUGHTER OF GODS AND SHADOWS by Jayde Brooks




Daughter of Gods and Shadows (<--Amazon Affiliate Link)
by Jayde Brooks
Amazon Excerpt:
Eden Reid is not interested in prophesy. The problem is that a doozy of a prophesy is bearing down on her. Such is the case when you're a twenty-four-year-old from Brooklyn, New York who is about to discover she is an ancient god. A truly powerful one. And with power comes problems. A truly formidable demon is gunning for her; a zombie-like pandemic is spreading across the country, creating creatures who are hungry for flesh, fast on their feet and clever; and there is the mysterious, handsome stranger with powers of his own who claims to have been her lover from a time and a life that Eden cannot remember. He promises to help awaken her powers for the upcoming war. A war where there is only one prize: survival…in Daughter of Gods and Shadows from debut author Jayde Brooks.


Do I recommend it: Yes, but it is a slow read.
Diversity: 5
Characters: 5
Story: 4 (minus 1 for the zombies)

No Shame to My Game.  I bought this book solely based on the book cover. I kinda wish I had bought a hardcover so that I could frame the cover and place it over my desk.

This is what I wrote before I finished the book: Because I bought it for its cover, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that I didn't like it. I found it hard to connect with any of the characters. In fact, I wasn't even going to finish the book. But I decided it had fey and black people. And since Coal has fey and black people I forced myself to finish. And OHEMGEE. I'm so glad I did. I ended up loving it! Absolutely loving it.

What I liked:

  • The unique twist on fey. Y'all know I'm all about fey.
  • Her descriptions of the troll Andromeda. I really hope Book 2 will focus on her.
  • Lilith the succubus who haunts everyone's dreams. 
  • Khale the Shapeshifter. I also heart shapeshifters and Coal has shapeshifters. Khale would make Octavia Butler cheese with pride.
  • A great fight at the end with a silverbacked gorilla
  • The seer twins Ursa Major and Ursa Minor
  • Kifo the Djinn
  • The theme: How sometimes we have to become evil to defeat it
What I didn't like:

  • The zombies. I'm tired of zombie books and there was nothing in Daughter of Gods and Shadows to change my mind.  Thankfully, they were gone by the end of the book.
  • The cliche bad guy who felt he was born to rule and do bad, bad things.
  • The convenient soul mate for the main character. UGH. I wanted them to work harder for their relationship. But I think I just have a grudge against uncomplicated love. 
  • The main character, Eden.  I never connected with her. But Andromeda, Kofi, and Khale, I heart.
Neutral

  • More sex than I was used to. It felt out of place at first, but it became less jarring at the end. 
If you love fey and urban fantasy, you will love Daughter of Gods and Shadows by the end. I can't wait for Book 2. 










Thursday, May 21, 2015

What It's Like To Be Intersex


If your interest was piqued with the book review of None of the Above, you will like the following video.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I'm A Pessimist.... Octavia Butler


Octavia Butler is my favorite Sci-Fi writer and this is one my favorite quotes because it describes me to the T. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Author Interview: Jayde Brooks

Immediately, after reading Daughter of Gods and Shadows by Jayde Brooks, I was like where is the second book and then I was like filled with questions and I wanted more. So inspired by the Post "Reader Meet Author" and Madhuri I contacted Jayde through Facebook and asked her if I could interview her, and she said YES! ::Squee::

First, I loved the first book! Please tell me the second book is coming soon.

Jayde: I’m so glad that you enjoyed it.  Daughter of Gods and Shadows was a tough book to write and can be tough to follow, but it’s a really good and unique story and I loved writing it.  There are three books slated for this series.  The second book, City of Dark Creatures, is scheduled for release November 17, 2015.

What characters will be returning?

Jayde: Pretty much all of them, with a few new editions.  The next book is much more streamlined, unlike Daughters of Gods and Shadows which includes a lot of the back story.  Two years have passed between the first book and the second one, though, and it was interesting to see the changes that have taken place, especially with Eden.

There were so many awesome and original characters in your book, but if I was forced to choose I'd have to say Andromeda and Kifo the Djinn were my favorites. What inspired you to create them? 

Jayde: All of these characters evolved over so long a period of time that I honestly can’t remember what inspired them.  But these are two of my favorite characters as well.  I tried to make all of the characters multidimensional and complex. Kifo and Andromeda were two of the most fun to write because I’ve never read any other characters like them before. 

What books and authors influenced Daughter of Gods and Shadows? How did you research the novel?

 Actually Daughter of Gods and Shadows wasn’t influenced by any book that I had ever read before.  All I knew when I started writing it was that I wanted to write and read a story about a black girl who had to save the world.  Four years and six rewrites later, I received the green light from my editor that I was out of time and that we were going to go ahead and release the book.

In doing research, I was watching a documentary one night on how the Earth and its moon were formed (theorized by scientists) and in the documentary, they spoke of a planet called “Theia” that fell out of orbit, scraped against the Earth and knocked loose the debris that flew out into space and created our moon.  I loved that and used the premise for my book.  Most of the other things in the book were mostly made up, but I did research some things like Eden’s Kpinga weapon, and Prophet’s house in Vermont, which I found on a real estate site online.

Have you written any other books?
 I’ve just started working on the third and final installment of the DGS series.  And after that, I’ll be starting a brand new series that still doesn’t have a title yet. 

I’ve also been writing mainstream fiction for more than a decade under a different name.  Currently, I have 12 novels under my belt and several short stories/novella contributions as well.  Daughters of Gods and Shadows is my first attempt at writing fantasy.  I was surprised by how challenging and difficult world building actually ended up being.  Writing fantasy is so very different from writing fact-based fiction and it challenged me in ways I hadn’t expected, but in a good way.

Where can we find you on the internet?
Twitter - jayde_brooks


As I mentioned, I loved this book so much that I wanted to share the love. So if you haven't signed up for the Daughter of Gods and Shadows giveaway, now is the time! 




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday Scenes: Coal Chapter One, Scene 5



Table of Contents

Chapter One, Scene 1,
Chapter One, Scene 2
Chapter One, Scene 3
Chapter One, Scene 4

Update: I've finally hit the button and Coal is now available on Amazon for pre-order. Get it now for the early bird price of $1.99 before the price increases.
------

Are you really going to let them go to the human realm alone?” Ambassador Eli asked Madoc once Chalcedony and Coal had left.
“She may only be sixteen, but she’s smart and one of the strongest in her line. I doubt anyone can hurt her except for a queen.”
“Are you sure you’re not overestimating her?” Ambassador Eli asked.
“I may be, but there is only so much I can do.” Madoc faced the dwarf. Many dwarven ambassadors had passed through Legacy, and every one had hated the bureaucratic process except for Ambassador Eli. To Madoc’s surprise, the dwarf seemed just as concerned for Everleaf as he was for protecting his people’s fortunes and trade routes.
Ambassador Eli stroked his chin with a short hairy finger. The dwarf had never worked in the mines so he was slim instead of bulky and muscular. “I’ve been hesitant to bring this up, but you should know that most fey in Everleaf have begun to talk about the queenling and her human boy. There are rumors he is destined to become her lover and rule beside her.”
“I am well aware of the rumors, but that will never happen.”
“Then what are your plans for him? I expected you to have gotten rid of him long before now.”
“Chalcedony is supposed to leave the boy in the human realm while they’re there.”
Ambassador Eli exhaled. “That’s a relief.”
Madoc turned back towards the window. Chalcedony and the boy were on horseback, leaving through the gates. “But she lied to me. She is not going to leave him there. She is still too attached to him.”
“Then you need to get rid of him,” Ambassador Eli said, his voice lifting.
Madoc watched them until they disappeared from sight. “I can’t. The boy will play a significant role in Princess Chalcedony becoming a formidable queen.”
“How can you be so sure?” Ambassador Eli asked, his tone full of doubt.
“I had a few truthsayers look into it. They all said the same thing. He’s meant to stay until he decides to leave on his own.”
The dwarf scowled. “Isn’t it your job to make her a great queen?”
“Like I said, I can only do so much. I’ve shown her the best and the worst duties of being a queen, yet she remains a child. Her mother and grandmother …” Madoc hesitated, searching for the correct phrase, “had lost their innocence by her age. She is too happy, and it’s all tied to the boy. Once he’s gone, she’ll lose her innocence. Besides, I can’t kill him without her suspecting. She is young but intuitive. Out of resentment, she may hurt Everleaf. But if the thing she loves leaves on its own, then that is a different game altogether.”
“The boy obviously worships her. He’ll never leave without coercion.”
“Ambassador Eli, I’ve been doing this for centuries. You have my word. The prophets have reassured me that he won’t be around much longer.”