Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Heartwarming Hearth

Join me at BTS Book Reviews " The Heartwarming Hearth". heaetwarming hearth

Childrens book, amish romance, homeschooling, DIY, crafts, cooking and recipes. This new magazine is great for these genres. one of the first ones to separate these genres from mainstream!
Be one of the first to be featured in this groundbreaking magazine.
We have awesome specials going on right now. Buy 1 get two free!

The Heartwarming Hearth Facebook Group

Our debut issue will be April/May 2016. Ad deadline March 1st!!!
We have some great start up specials for new authors and publishers in these fields.
Email Babs at babsh@btsemag.com or Heather at heatherp@btsemag.com and we will give you our pricing and packages!!
Don't miss out on this great opportunity as we are one of the few magazines to offer this opportunity!!!
Get your book out there!!!

We will also be featuring different columns and guest posts on the blog there.

The new website address will be www.btsemag.com/theheartwarminghearth

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Thing for Dwarves by D.P. Prior-Author of Carnifex



MY THING FOR DWARVES

by D.P. Prior

(editor, old school vaudeville strongman, and author of the new series,
Legends of the Nameless Dwarf)


Dwarves in fantasy may be dour, beer-swilling, gold-digging troglodytes, but there’s no doubt about their importance in myth and folklore. In the Prose Edda, four dwarves (Norori, Suori, Austri, and Vestri) hold up the sky, and there’s even some scholarly speculation that the little folk may have had a hand in the creation of the first humans, Ask and Embla.

The word “dwarf” (Old English dweorg, Old Norse dvergr) has been linked to the Indo-European root dreugh, which gives us the English “dream” and “trug” (deception), which has important ramifications for the dwarves of my own fantasy world of Aethir.

Dwarves have been around in popular culture for as long as I can remember (my longterm memory is significantly better than my short, which probably has something to do with my dwarven love of anything that can be drunk from a flagon). The Brothers Grimm recorded the folk tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as long ago as 1812. Tolkien gave us an ensemble of silly-hat-wearing dwarves in The Hobbit (1937), and Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits (1981) had a band of chronologically challenged, diminutive treasure-seekers doing battle with evil.

Dwarves are often associated with the deep places of the earth. It’s a connection that goes back to the Eddas and is a characteristic of the dwarves of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. In my own universe, the dwarves of Aethir are “created” by the scientist Sektis Gandaw in order to mine the precious ore, scarolite. However, there are darker and older secrets to their nature waiting to be discovered.

I was always quite ambivalent towards Thorin Oakenshield and his companions in The Hobbit— they are often avaricious to the point of foolhardiness, although it would be hard to deny their bravery. Gimli, in The Lord of the Rings, is perhaps more likable, particularly in his score-keeping scene with Legolas at Helm’s Deep, and his hardiness in the epic battle in the mines of Moria, the quintessential dwarven environment.

Something of a dwarf stereotype has developed over the years. Some of it comes from mythology, some from Tolkien’s feasting and drinking dwarves, and much from the development of the race in Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer. Despite their often bellicose natures, dwarves tend to provide a touch of grouchy comedy to fantasy tales—“Nobody tosses a dwarf,” says John Rhys-Davies’s Gimli in the Peter Jackson film.

Various subtypes of dwarf have arisen, numerous clans, but there is almost always an immediately identifiable quality of dwarfishness about them. Generally it’s alcohol, although dwarves are also very much bound up with axes, stoicism, and a love of shiny objects that have to be dug out of rock. 

I don’t know if it’s just me, but dwarves often have a flavour of Scottishness about them, so much so that a RPG figure I once painted for the Nameless Dwarf had tartan britches. Arguably, the trend was taken too far in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, but it's been a staple of the Warhammer universe, perhaps epitomized by the character Gotrek. Someone once stated they felt the Nameless Dwarf was another Gotrek type. The funny thing is, the Nameless Dwarf has been around since 1979 (when there was no Warhammer), which means he predates Gotrek by nearly two decades. 

Back in the days when I belonged to the legendary Wargaming Society sequestered away at the back of the Archery recreation ground’s public toilets, I was in the unsavoury habit of playing Dungeons and Dragons with a crabby bunch of ne’er-do-wells. We had the back room of the club (the front was for serious gamers in the Napoleonics tradition). We painted the walls and ceiling black, let the cobwebs grow, and gathered around an enormous (black) table with six-packs of Jacob’s Club biscuits for endless campaigns that took us all the way to the Abyss and back.

There were a few memorable dwarves among the players. One was particularly annoying (I forget his name). He was literally dripping with artifacts, was as indestructible as the Hulk, and had the “my axe is bigger than yours” personality type. The shogger had even been resurrected a couple of times. He just refused to go away. He did go away, eventually, though, when he took a pop at a certain dwarf with no name, who always had the luck of the gods on his side. Chopped the bleeder’s head off, and that was an end to the matter.

Another player had a fat dwarf, aptly named Falstaff, but all I can remember of him is that he was always lagging behind so he could hit on the party’s only female (an elf of all things!)

I pretty much always played dwarves. I tried other races, but the minute those characters were killed (and inevitably they were) I got straight back into my comfort zone. 

When my brother decided to DM a particular nasty orc-fest at the club, a super-party was assembled, and I realized I was going to need a pretty special dwarf to get the job done.

That’s when the original Nameless Dwarf was created. He was nameless back then because he didn’t need any sort of personality. He was a tank, a hack-and-slash superhero. He was the dwarven Terminator (even before Arnold had first uttered “I’ll be back.”) Some time after his creation, I bought a miniature figure called The Dwarf with No Name—a cigar-smoking, gun-toting, poncho-wearing dwarf based on the Clint Eastwood character. It wasn’t quite appropriate for Nameless, but it was a cool figure nonetheless.

Over the years, the character developed, but he also grew more and more powerful, and that’s never a good thing in gaming. Eventually, I retired him. Years later, I reinvented him, but that was when I learned the hard truth that roleplaying games are for people less imaginatively and cognitively challenged than an old codger like me. I shoved my polyhedral dice in the attic and left Nameless to the Void.

Many years later, I gave him a cameo in my first fantasy novel, The Resurrection of Deacon Shader. Back then I was into being terribly, terribly literary and reducing all my characters to two-dimensional talking heads. I did the same with Nameless, although a lot of readers were impressed with his first appearance. With barely a word spoken, he scares the crap out of the hero, Shader, displaying some of that elemental violence he’d had as a D&D character.

When I was staying in Chicago a few years ago I found myself at a loose end while my son was out catching frogs. I sat at a friend’s dining room table and resolved to write a Nameless short story to sell to a magazine. I wrote the 5000 word The Ant-Man of Malfen in one sitting and liked where the character was going. He had elements of Shakespeare’s Falstaff (Henry IV 1&2), Hilaire Belloc’s drinking, singing, and camaraderie, a crippling manic depression, and a smattering of David Gemmell’s Druss the Legend.

Nameless has some of those stereotypical dwarven characteristics—the axe and the grog, but he’s also a rather unique, complex character who (importantly for me) has some surprising vulnerabilities.

The story was accepted by Pulp Empire, but then I went on to expand it into a novella. It starts after the Nameless, under the influence of a malevolent black axe, virtually commits genocide. The survivors of his massacre in the ravine city of Arx Gravis flee across the mountains into the nightmare lands of Qlippoth. At last free from the axe, Nameless desperately wants to find them before it’s too late (no one comes back from Qlippoth). He hires Nils Fargin, son of a criminal guildmaster, to lead him to some rather shady contacts who may be able to help.

That’s where the Chronicles of the Nameless Dwarf start—a guilt-ridden Nameless trying to find the survivors of his race, and knowing he’s the last person they’d want to run into. The series spans five books that take him on a journey with modest Sword and Sorcery beginnings to a truly epic conclusion.

The Nameless Dwarf books have benefited enormously from some great artwork. The first cover was produced by C.S. Marks. Subsequent covers in the first series were painted by Patrick Stacey. Russian artist Anton Kokarev came up with the iconic image of Nameless for the cover of the Complete Chronicles, which has consistently been my bestselling book, and has topped the fantasy charts on several occasions. More recently, Mike Nash, a brilliant English artist, accepted the challenge of producing covers for Carnifex (Legends of the Nameless Dwarf Book 1) and Return of the Dwarf Lords (Book 4).

The Nameless Dwarf books began as a fun spinoff from the Shader series, which is much heavier epic fantasy. Something of Nameless’s old D&D luck must still linger, though, as the Chronicles have easily outsold all my other books put together. Either that, or it’s just a reminder that the little guys, in spite of all their vices, remain as popular today as they were in the days of yore.

In 2015, I began work on a follow up Nameless Dwarf story, Return of the Dwarf Lords. Based on this, I was asked by my agent to put together a complete Nameless Dwarf story arc, and so I sat down to write the tragic origins story, Carnifex, and then put together Geas of the Black Axe from some material that originally featured in my Shader series, massively revised and told from Nameless's perspective, along with approximately 60,000 of new material. Next, The Complete Chronicles were fully revised and became book 3: Revenge of the Lich.

The new books were released in January 2016. You can find out all about them at:


CARNIFEX
LEGENDS OF THE NAMELESS DWARF BOOK 1


For more than a thousand years, the dwarves have hidden away from the world in their ravine city of Arx Gravis.

Governed by an inflexible council whose sole aim is to avoid the errors of the past, the defining virtue of their society is that nothing should ever change.

But when the Scriptorium is broken into, and Ravine Guard Carnifex Thane sees a homunculus fleeing the scene of the crime, events are set in motion that will ensure nothing will ever be the same again.

Deception and death are coming to Arx Gravis.

The riddles that preceded Carnifex’s birth crystalize into a horrifying fate that inexorably closes in.

But it is in blood that legends are born, and redemption is sometimes seeded in the gravest of sins.

For Carnifex is destined to become the Ravine Butcher, before even that grim appellation is forever lost, along with everything that once defined him.





Tuesday, January 19, 2016

THE MAGICIAN COVER REVEAL

I am excited to reveal the cover for THE MAGICIAN, the first novel in the Dark Arcana series by E.J. Stevens.  Cover art is by digital artist Ruxandra Tudorica of Methyss Design.

Cover Reveal: The Magician

The Magician Dark Arcana fantasy by E.J. Stevens

The Magician (Dark Arcana #1) by E.J. Stevens

When members of tarot's Major Arcana begin manifesting in the mortal world, magic is in the air and change is in the cards.

Release Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

The Magician Cover Reveal Giveaway

To celebrate The Magician's cover reveal, we are giving away a signed cover art postcard and a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Win $10 Amazon Gift Card

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway ends February 2, 2016 midnight EST.

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What do you think of the cover?

I am excited to reveal the cover for THE MAGICIAN, the first novel in the Dark Arcana series by E.J. Stevens.  Cover art is by digital artist Ruxandra Tudorica of Methyss Design.

Cover Reveal: The Magician

The Magician Dark Arcana fantasy by E.J. Stevens

The Magician (Dark Arcana #1) by E.J. Stevens

When members of tarot's Major Arcana begin manifesting in the mortal world, magic is in the air and change is in the cards.

Release Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

The Magician Cover Reveal Giveaway

To celebrate The Magician's cover reveal, we are giving away a signed cover art postcard and a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Win $10 Amazon Gift Card

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway ends February 2, 2016 midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
What do you think of the cover?

E.J. Stevens is the author of 14 works of speculative fiction, including the Hunters' Guild urban fantasy series, the Spirit Guide young adult paranormal series, and the award-winning Ivy Granger urban fantasy series.  She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines.

Connect with E.J. Stevens by following her on Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter, Blog, Goodreads, and Amazon.

THE EDGE OF NOWHERE BOOK BLITZ

IN BOOKSTORES AND ONLINE TODAY!

FULL RESOLUTION EON

SYNOPSIS

The year is 1992 and Victoria Hastings Harrison Greene—reviled matriarch of a sprawling family—is dying. After surviving the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Victoria refuses to leave this earth before revealing the secrets she’s carried for decades. Once the child of a loving family during peaceful times, a shocking death shattered her life. Victoria came face to face with the harshness of the world. As the warm days of childhood receded to distant memory, Victoria learns to survive. No matter what it takes. To keep her family alive in an Oklahoma blighted by dust storms and poverty, Victoria makes choices—harsh ones, desperate ones. Ones that eventually made her into the woman her grandchildren fear and whisper about. Ones that kept them all alive. Hers is a tale of tragedy, love, murder, and above all, the conviction to never stop fighting.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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C.H. Armstrong is an Oklahoma native transplanted in Minnesota. A 1992 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, "Cathie"is a life-long lover of books, and staunchly outspoken on subject of banned and challenged books. The Edge of Nowhere is her first novel and was inspired by her own family's experiences during the 1930s Oklahoma Dust Bowl and The Great Depression.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Finding Lyla Book Blast





Ethan Cooke Security and their bodyguard team return to action in Finding Lyla – book ten in Cate Beauman’s Bodyguards of L.A. County series.

With over 4700 reviews and a 4.3 rating for the entire series, see why the Bodyguards of L.A. County is a multi-award winning series.

Buy It Now!



New to the series? No problem! Each book in the “Bodyguards” series is a stand-alone title. Although reading the books in order is preferred, it is not necessary.  Each title features brand new primary characters and limited overlapping secondary characters.  Don’t hesitate to jump right in!


Principal Dancer Lyla Markovik-Avery is always on the go. Grueling practices and endless performances rule her busy days—and things are about to get more hectic. Russia is rolling out the red carpet for their beloved star, despite the string of violent terrorist attacks that have rocked the nation.

Bodyguard Collin Michaels’ life is falling apart. His long-time relationship recently ended. He’s trying to start over, but that’s easier said than done. Luckily, Collin has a new assignment on the horizon: keeping a beautiful ballerina safe for the next three weeks.

Collin finds comfort in Lyla’s easy friendship, but that all changes after a night out on the town. Simple feelings become complicated—something Collin can’t afford, especially when tragedy strikes and Collin realizes Lyla’s caught in the middle of a dangerous plot for revenge.

Collin and Lyla are forced to flee. They need to reach the border before it’s too late, but the odds are stacked against them in a country that wants them dead. With time running out, Collin formulates a risky plan that might be their only chance of making it out alive.


The Inspiration Behind Finding Lyla:

Typically I get my story ideas from crime documentaries or some sort of crime television program, but I can’t say that is the case for Finding Lyla. When I was coming up with ideas for this novel, I knew I wanted to tell a story about a hero that had struggled through some rough times and a heroine that had some unresolved issues of her own, but was soft, strong, and gentle all at the same time. During the summer months, I started paying close attention to the ongoing Russia/US conflict and Lyla and Collin assured me they wanted their story to revolve around an adventure that combined all of these elements together.


Read an excerpt from Finding Lyla:

Collin settled beneath the covers on his temporary bed as the dim glow of city lights radiated through the windows. He reached out, grabbing the remote off the coffee table he’d pushed off to the side, and flipped through several channels, stopping on SportsCenter. Scores and updates ticked by on the bottom of the screen, and he moved on, not all that interested in hockey stats.

He stopped again when the live footage from Saint Petersburg, Russia caught his attention. With the volume on mute, he searched for the closed caption button and sat up, reading the news report while the station switched back and forth between the newscaster and images of the police surrounding a trolleybus in the middle of a downtown street. The reporter spoke of a bomb discovered during the busy morning rush hour, mere miles from the plaza where dozens had been killed on New Year’s Eve. Luckily a citizen had been paying attention, and the explosive device had been deactivated, stopping another disaster.

Early reports were suggesting that the same rebel group responsible for the December thirty-first bombing, Chechen Freedom, had attempted to strike again. The news segment switched to snippets of the video released weeks ago, shortly after the slaughter of innocent civilians, where the masked men promised more violence in retaliation for The Federation killing one of their leaders. The man pointed at the camera, vowing to continue with his plans to destroy Russia until the regime relented and gave the Chechens back their country.

Sighing, Collin rubbed at his jaw. Why did he feel like he was walking into a losing situation? Everyday there was something new going on over there. If it wasn’t bomb threats and anti-American rallies, it was anti-Putin demonstrations outside the Kremlin walls, which often ended with tear gas and riot gear. And he and Lyla were only hours away from their late-afternoon flight.

The issues in Saint Petersburg weren’t necessarily one of his concerns. The city was a good nine hours away from their destination. It was the possibility of terrorist attacks in Moscow and Russia’s discord with the United States in general that had him on edge. The fact that Lyla was a dual citizen of two countries at odds had the potential to work for her…or very much against her. Only time would tell which way things were going to go, and they would be along for the ride while they waited to figure it out.

Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book with the links below!



The Unofficial Finding Lyla Soundtrack

Music plays a HUGE part in my writing process. I typically listen to Pandora or YouTube while I create my stories and compile a collection of songs that I feel represent my characters or the situations they face as each novel unfolds. It’s a rare occasion that my creativity demands silence (And that’s a good thing. I’m a mother of two boys. Quiet doesn’t exist in my house.). I thought it would be fun to create a list of songs that ‘spoke’ to me while I wrote the Bodyguards of L.A. County series. You can listen to the “soundtrack” for each book on my website www.catebeauman.com.

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Finding Lyla:
• Today by Steve Moakler
• Beautiful Things by Gungor
• Teneferie Sea by Ed Sheeran
• Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon
• Anywhere but Here by Safety Suit
• Never Gonna Be Alone by Nickelback
• Nirvana by Sam Smith
• Don’t Deserve You by Plumb 
• Unconditionally by Katy Perry
• You’re in Love by Taylor Swift
• Fight Song by Rachel Platton

About the author:


International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on Deceiving Bella, the eleventh novel in her popular Bodyguards series.

For information on Cate's new releases, monthly giveaways, and upcoming events, sign up for her newsletter at: http://www.catebeauman.com/author/home.html#!newsletter-sign-up/c9td

Cate can be reached at www.catebeauman.com and www.facebook.com/catebeauman.

You can follow Cate on Twitter @CateBeauman


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The Life and Times of Jackson Haines-Fairshot




The Life and Times of Jackson Haines:

Fair Shot

 

By Carl Randal



It was the fall of 1890, a mere decade away from the twentieth century. But some parts of the west were still as wooly as they’d ever been.

Fairshot, Wyoming, is just such a spot. Jackson Haines is a household name in America, known far and wide as a dandy, a high-stakes gambler, and a sometimes lawman who’ll tame the wildest town—for a price.

He’s in Fairshot to do just that. But with cattle baron Ike Hillyard against him, backed by his vast wealth and as many hired guns as he needs, will Haines’s skill with a pistol and his dime novel reputation as the Deadliest Man Alive be enough?


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AUTHOR BIO

When Carl Randal settled into an early retirement a little while back, he decided that now was the time to realize a lifelong dream; that of being an author. While this is a secret desire of many, relatively few actually pursue a second career as a writer.
Perhaps it was a long-held interest in fiction and its creation, maybe it was his educational background in English Literature—and not wanting it to go to waste—but Randal proved different. His latest venture into novel writing is the first part of a planned series of books concerning the life and times of the legendary Jackson Haines, adventurer, sometimes lawman, entrepreneur, gambler, and famous frontier character.
Hard at work on research for the second Haines novel, Randal enjoys reading fiction for pleasure, day trips around his northern California base, and relaxing with friends and family. His literary interests are wide and varied, so don’t be surprised to see a mystery, or science fiction novel, or a contemporary thriller from this author.
He has lots of book ideas, and he wants to explore them all…