Monthly Archives: December 2012
Please enjoy this guest post by Melissa McPhail, author of the spellbinding epic fantasy, Cephrael’s Hand. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
My Take on Magic Systems
A guest post by Melissa McPhail
One of the most enticing aspects of writing fantasy is developing a magic system. The author’s magic system is inextricably woven into their world and contributes greatly to the reader’s vision of the world overall. The way a system is created either makes the world seem real or unreal, depending on how well the author has grounded the system with laws and limitations.
For example, scientists in our own world have defined laws—inertia, gravity, the periodic table—that describe the physical limitations and properties of energy. We don’t expect a stone to rise upwards when we throw it, but we might believe it could float if it were somehow made of helium. Likewise in a fantasy world, it’s important to codify the system with laws and rules (and to stick to those rules once established), to set boundaries for what the magician can and cannot do with magic, and to establish consequences for and ramifications of magical misuse.
This all shows that magic systems require significant thought and research on the author’s part to develop realistically. Yet for all of this, the manner in which one might design and describe the magical process is potentially limitless—there are as many magical systems as there are fantasy novels, and equally as many readers eager to pontificate on their pros and cons and/or to organize the systems into categories and types.
The one thing most magic systems have in common, however, is that they all handle energy. Whether that energy is spiritual, omnipotent, corporeal, or derives from physical objects or living things, the working of arcane arts surrounds the manipulation of energy.
I designed the magic in Cephrael’s Hand based on scientists’ existing understanding of electrical fields. The process of thought has been scientifically proven to produce energy, and human bodies are known to generate electrical fields. For the magic in Alorin, I proposed that all living things produce a metaphysical energy which is formless but which flows across the world in natural currents. This energy is called elae. This is the energy a magician of Alorin uses to produce arcane workings. How he does this is the creative part.
In Cephrael’s Hand, all things are formed of patterns. A single leaf derives its pattern from the larger pattern of its motherly oak. The snowflake harbors the pattern of a storm. Rivers form patterns that mimic the pattern of the world, and a living man harbors within him the pattern of his immortality. These inherent patterns collect and compel energy (elae) toward a certain purpose—growth, action, states of change.
To compel energy, a magician of Alorin (called a wielder) must learn to first identify and then usurp control over the pattern of a thing in order to command it. This is a laborious process requiring a lifetime of study.
Unlike wielders, the Adepts in Cephrael’s Hand are born with the ability to manipulate certain patterns. Adept Healers can see creation patterns (life patterns) and mend them where they’ve become frayed. Truthreaders can hear certain thoughts and read minds to see what a man saw versus what he says he saw. Nodefinders have the ability to move long distances with a single step by traveling on the pattern of the world. And Wildlings tap into a variant aspect of the lifeforce called elae to shapeshift or even skip through time, among other intriguing talents. The last type of Adept can sense the patterns of nonliving things—stone, air, water, fire, etc.—and use those patterns to compel the elements themselves.
Adepts are limited by nature of their birth—they can only inherently work one category of patterns. They are limited by their training, their inherent intelligence, talent and ability. And of course, like us in real life, they are limited by their own vision of their capabilities.
Above all of these limitations, we find Adepts limited by “Balance.” The concept of Balance draws from my studies of Eastern philosophies. It is the high governing force, the yen and yang, karma, cause and effect, fate. It’s as esoteric and arcane as these concepts imply. How far can the Balance be pushed in one direction without lashing back at the wielder? Which actions stretch it and which ones defy it? Balance is a complex and complicated subject—as difficult to define as our own world’s myriad competing religions. The only real agreement on the subject of Balance is that all magical workings stretch the Balance to some degree. Understanding how far they can be stretched without snapping is central to survival in the arcane arts.
The concept of Balance provides, well, the “balancing” force to all magical workings in Cephrael’s Hand and is central to its plot. You see, the entire realm of Alorin is out of Balance and magic is dying—and the Adept race dies along with it.
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Cephrael’s Hand eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.
The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
- Purchase your copy of Cephrael’s Hand for just 99 cents
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
- Visit today’s featured social media event
About Cephrael’s Hand: Two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of a great battle, neither knowing the other is alive… A traitor works in exile while preparing for the disaster only he knows is coming… A race of beings from beyond the fringe of the universe begin unmaking the world from within… And all across the land, magic is dying.Cephrael’s Hand is the first novel in the award-winning series A Pattern of Shadow and Light.Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About the author: Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats. Visit Melissa on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.
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Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page Count: approx 300 pages each
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Review by Cassie Hoffman
REVIEW OF ‘DEAD GIRL’ BY B.C. JOHNSON
Going on you very first day with the boy of your dreams shouldn’t end with you being killed. Right?!?
Lucy Day a fifteen-year-old sophomore at Atlanta High school and is your average teenager. She has a massive crush on a boy name Zack and has two best friends, Morgan and Wanda.
Lucy is finally going on her first date EVER and with her dream boy, Zack. Her date should have ended the textbook way. Boy walks you to your door, and gives you a goodnight kiss that makes you have butterflies in your tummy. Well that didn’t happen with Lucy.
Her first date she ended up being killed, or did she?
Getting separated from her friends, Lucy finds herself being chased by three-four guys and gets stuck at a dead-end of an alley. Lucy will not go down without a fight and that is what she gives him. With his friends looking on Lucy does her best to protect herself, but when he pulls out a revolver there is only so much you can do. Trying to wrestle her way from him, the gun goes off with a deafening sound.
Waking up the next day, YES waking up after being shot, Lucy has no scratch on her and is reeling from the night before. She will never be the same girl she was, a lot has changed in the last twenty-four hours. Noticing new things in the next few days as not having an appetite, to being freezing cold and not being tired. What is going on with her? Is she dead?
On top of everything Lucy is trying to figure out, there is a car that she keeps seeing and when she feels it, she gets a sense of something wrong and hides or runs. Who is in that car and what do they want with her. Lucy soon finds out who’s been following her. It is her own Grim Reaper coming to right the error that happen the night in the alley, and his name is Abraham.
Lucy learns there is a price of coming back from the dead, what is this price? Being forced to make one of the hardest decisions of her young life; a decision that could save the ones Lucy loves or could kill them.
What will Lucy choose? What will happen to Lucy? Will Abraham do what he is here for? Can Lucy go back to who she was before that faithful night? All those questions will be answered in Dead Girl.
I loved this book; Dead Girl is such a great read. At first it’s kinds of confusing, but soon you will get sucked into Lucy’s crazy world of the living on a thin line of being alive and dead. You will fall in love with Lucy; her character is a really snarky, comical girl. There are a lot of other characters in Dead Girl that helps make the book. The author keeps you guessing of what will happen next and have you asking, “What is going on”. This is definitely a book I would re-read again. It is such a great read and you will not be let down. Just give it a chance, because like I said in the beginning you will be a bit confused, but soon you will be saying “Ah ha”! I think you will be pleasantly surprised to read in the ending that the author is a man. I was. I just seen a man writing about a 15-year-old girl and he did a great job venturing into the world of us girls. I give ‘Dead Girl’ 4 stars and it’s such a great debut novel, BRAVO!!!
QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:
“You couldn’t go one week without becoming another Unsolved Mystery?”-Morgan
“I just walk around with a red cup filled with soda and act drunk.”-Lucy
“I can’t help it. That high you felt the last time I kissed you wasn’t just my incredible technique. I could hurt…I could make you forget everything you’ve ever…just, no, okay? Not until I figure it out?”-Lucy
“Takes all kinds, Lucy, you think you’re the only freak out there? I’ll tell you what I am. I’m your friend. Now let’s go upstairs and see if we can’t get a pillow fight started.”-Daphne
B.C. Johnson has been kind enough to offer a paperback (USA only) and a digital (International) copy of Dead Girl for giveaway. To enter this giveaway you MUST like B.C. Johnson’s Facebook page and leave a comment on this blog post with a question for him. Remember to click follow replies so that you can see the answer to your questions. Giveaway ends Dec 22, 2012 at 8 am CST.
Sheol by Jason Brant
(This for the third book in the series. If you have not read the first book, scroll down to the bottom for a FREE copy!)
Sheol is the third and last book in the West of Hell series. It was the perfect conclusion to a completely different and wild ride. Zombies, prostitutes, and the Wild West ended up being the perfect combination.
I do not even know how to start because I do not want to post any spoilers. The second book left off with McCall sending Karen and Stephen to safety, at the detriment to his own. The third book begins with a shock that makes you glad that the hero is still in the story.
Karen is in jail, with someone in a position of authority that she never would have imagined. Stephen has been taken from her and she is accused of heinous crimes. The town of Sheol has no idea what is coming and Karen is determined to tell them. The “moaners” are coming and this is going to be the fight of the town’s life. No one is safe and nothing is what it seems.
I really do not want to get into any more detail besides saying that this book blew my mind. McCall and Karen reach new depths in this book. It makes them come even more alive and it makes you connect with them in new ways. Jason Brant even brought a few awwww moments into the story. The biblical undertones leave you nervous and second-guessing everything you have thought about the previous books. There are so many clues and hints if you just open yourself up to them. The ending wowed me and I feel privileged to have gotten to read this series.
Quotes from the Book:
“Don’t you know? I’m nothin’ but a hooker. Keeping my mouth open is how I make money.”
“All your anger, all your hate, all your shame at the things you’ve ignored in this town… turn it into wrath and unleash it at the army knocking on your door. This is your chance at redemption – take it.”
“I walked across that fucking desert for you. I’m here, fighting for these people because of you. If you give up on me now, then you’re telling me that everything I’ve done has been for nothing. You were worth it, no matter what happens.”
THE FIRST BOOK IN THE WEST OF HELL SERIES IS FREE
Link for the second book, TARTARUS.
Link for the third book, SHEOL
Sheol (West of Hell #3)
GET ALL THREE BOOKS IN THE WEST OF HELL SERIES FOR ONE LOW PRICE
* Books also available on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, ITunes
Connect with Jason on Faceboook and his blog:
Review by: Kristy Hamilton
Of Love, Actors, and Acrobats by Brie Bennett
If you are looking for a cute, light-hearted story about a woman learning how to be 30 and single, this is a good one to pick up and read for the afternoon…
The prologue kind of starts out as a confused mess, as the main character is describing the acrobats that popped into her head while she was getting drunk as her birthday was approaching. The acrobats “weren’t born from the happy kind of drunk but rather the ‘I just saw my ex with another girl and oh yeah I’m also turning 30…” Then she describes what she and ex did after she graduated law school, and then goes on how she could write a story about dreams coming true. She has not been named, but the prologue wants to make me read on to see what is going to happen to her.
It takes a few chapters before the main character is named. Zoe is trying to deal with her job as lawyer, and becoming happy with turning 30 and being single in New York City while her friends are dating, getting married and having babies. She decides to leave it up to fate and try to be happy with being single. To take up her time she does some volunteer work and become a “big sister” to help a teenage girl.
Eventually the acrobats have their place. Zoe decides she is going to write a spy novel. With Of Love, Actors and Acrobats moving at a steady pace, Zoe has a chance meeting with a man that is an actor. She is realizing that dreams can come true. While the relationship grows, Zoe has to deal with image issues that have come from dating a man that millions of women want.
Of Love, Actors and Acrobats was lively story of a women turning 30 and having a dream come true. The story started out as a jumbled mess, dragged a little bit, but in the end it was a cute, light-hearted story that had me laughing in a few parts and that I would read again.
I would give this 4 stars out of 5 and will be looking forward to Ms. Bennett’s next novel.
If you have been talked into reading this book, please leave a review for it where you bought it. Every review helps the author.
Amazon Buy Link:
Of Love, Actors, and Acrobats
Brie Bennett on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15860331-of-love-actors-and-acrobats
After being invited to a party, Seiren never dreamed of being haunted by the Haydens–supernatural beings–of her city. She was suppose to forget about how they watched her every move days before. She was suppose to forget how everything went downhill after meeting a certain white eyed Hayden. But that would be too simple…
Ereshkigal, a group of powerful beings that all Haydens resent, have their sights on Seiren and Haydens from every corner of Black Phoenix will do everything in their power to stop them.
With the help of the gun-toting agent Luann and Hayden guardian Julius,Seiren must figure out her place in all of this and why she is literally running for her life.
Cover Artist: Silviya Yordanova
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MyBeautifulDarkness
DeviantART – http://morteque.deviantart.com/
Author Racquel Jones Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Racquel-Jones/206693799354239?ref=hl