Monthly Archives: December 2012

Guest Post from Melissa McPhail, author of ‘Cephrael’s Hand’

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.

Cephrael Tour BadgeAs 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:

  1. Purchase your copy of Cephrael’s Hand for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. 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.


Did you get a new eReader for Christmas, and are now looking for something awesome to read? Or, maybe you didn’t get anything good and want to spoil yourself a little with the chance to win that coveted eReader, some major gift cards, or other awesome prizes. Maybe you just need to relax after hurry-scurrying around all season. Well…

Wouldn’t it be nice to take a long hot bath or snuggle under your favorite blanket with a great read? Sounds like the perfect day, right? Hey, we can offer you something even better than that.

In fact, we can offer you something seven times better!

For starters, we can offer you up to seven review copies of Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today best-selling contemporary romance series The Sullivans.

We’ll introduce you to—not just one, but—each and every member of the Sullivan family on their quests to find happiness. Even though most of them aren’t even really looking for love, it has a way of finding them anyway. These sexy, emotional and funny novels will nurse all your literary and metaphorical desires. You’ll laugh and cry right along with the characters, and get hooked into these great stories right from the very first page. They even take place in lovely California, giving you the opportunity to travel by proxy and escape the windy winter doldrums.

What’s that you say? The books sound awesome, but you’re not sure why you have to join the tour to enjoy their awesomeness? There are so many reasons to sign-up. Since there are seven books (so far) in The Sullivans series and seven that will be taking part in this extraordinarily large tour, let’s stay right on theme and discuss seven reasons why you need to join the fun, pronto.

CLICK ME > What are you waiting for? Go sign-up now! <CLICK ME

The perks

Not only will you get to read a great novel—or two, or three, or seven—but you’ll also get…

1. The opportunity to network with other bloggers and avid readers.

2. The option to host a guest post, excerpt or interview with best-selling author Bella Andre. This will bring new readers to your blog AND give you content for your blog—what’s better, a post you didn’t even have to write yourself. If your New Year looks as hectic as mine, having a guest post is almost as good as reading an awesome book… because it means I’ll have TIME to READ that great book.

3. The chance to interact directly with the author through a number of social media activities, discussions, and awesome giveaways .

But wait, there’s more!

4. Literally, there are more books. If you love The Sullivans, you can find half a dozen more books just waiting for your eager hands and mind. AND REVIEW COPIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR ALL SEVEN! WOWZA!

5. Kick start your New Year’s resolution to read more! Plus you get hours of entertainment absolutely free—you may even win something (which makes the deal even sweeter).

6. The Sullivans will make you fall in love. You’ll love the writing, the humor, the characters, and the stories. You might even find hope for true love within these pages.

7. If you’ve ever wished for your own happy ending—heck, even if you’ve already found it—there’s something in each of these novels you’ll be able to identify with. We all know life isn’t perfect, and the Sullivans know that too. They’re so real, reading the book is almost like watching a movie or watching somebody’s real life unfold right in front of your eyes.

Did I forget to mention the prizes?

The prizes are ridonkulous. We’ve got romantic swag baskets, hundreds of dollars gift cards, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, AND a Sony eReader to name a few.

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Oh, did you want specific details?

Sullivan Tour Badge

Learn what all the buzz is about when you receive review copies of the first 7 books in this on-going series. Read one, or read them all. Or, you could host an excerpt, interview, or guest post instead–and we’ll even put that together for you.

Tour Dates: January 7 to 20, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page Count: approx 300 pages each

CAUTION: Explicit language, very steamy love scenes…and lots of emotion!

The Prizes:

* iPad Mini
* Kindle Fire
* Nook Color
* Kobo eReader
* $100 Amazon gift cards (7 prizes)
* $50 Amazon gift cards (2 prizes)
* $25 Amazon gift cards (8 prizes)
* $20 iTunes gift cards (10 prizes)
* Custom prize baskets for EACH of the 7 books–including items such as wine gift set, silver bracelets, romantic photo books and photo frames, eReader and smart phone skins, and MUCH, MUCH more!

…and we’ve got special prizes just for participating bloggers
Read summaries and excerpts on the sign-up page.

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I want to talk about one star reviews for a minute. A book that I really liked got a 1 star review this morning that it does not deserve. This book had great writing and a great plot. I reviewed it myself and I gave it 5 stars. It was funny, unique, and I still tell people to read it and I read it a long time ago. Which means that the book stuck with me because it was good. I only give books what I think they deserve. If I really loved a book, the editing was good, and the book flowed well, I will give it 5 stars because it deserves it.

Some books could deserve one star reviews, I am not disputing that. People should always give their truthful opinion. If you don’t like the book, you don’t like the book. What pisses me off is when people leave horrible, negative reviews that the book does not deserve. It hurts the authors and their sales.

Review decorum should always be thought about when writing a review. Don’t post so many spoilers that it ruins the book for people that have not read it yet. Don’t leave headers like, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. Don’t be rude. Don’t be condescending. Don’t be mean! It is simple common courtesy. If you didn’t like the book, give your opinion about why. Find something nice to say about the book as well. Let it be known that it is your opinion. Do not try to sway readers into believing that a book is so horrible it does not deserve their time.

My way of thinking is that everyone has different tastes. What one person likes, another might not. That is why it is just wrong to tell people not to buy this book because YOU didn’t like it. That is why it is wrong to SPOIL it for people that want to give it a chance. One star reviews should be handled with dignity, not with mean spirits. That is my rant for the day.



Review by Cassie Hoffman


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!!!


“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


Dead Girl (Kindle)
Dead Girl (Paperback)

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.

Review of ‘Sheol: West of Hell 3’ (Plus 1st book FREE!)

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.”



Amazon: Gehenna (West of Hell #1)

Link for the second book, TARTARUS.

Tartarus (West of Hell #2)

Link for the third book, SHEOL

Sheol (West of Hell #3)



West of Hell Omnibus Edition (West of Hell 1-3)

* Books also available on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, ITunes

Connect with Jason on Faceboook and his blog:

Of Love, Actors, and Acrobats Review

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:

Miranda Wheeler’s ‘Something of a Kind’ Review & Giveaway

Review by Cassie Hoffman

Something of a Kind by Miranda Wheeler

How do you go on after you lose the only parent you’ve really ever had? How can you start over in a completely different place, with a father that was never in your life and a very different culture? These are the questions Alyson Glass will face, as she struggles to overcome her mother’s passing from cancer and learn to become the woman she is meant to be.

Alyson Glass’s life was shook to the core when her mother passed from cancer after a couple years of up and down battling. She knew it was coming, but didn’t really come to terms that her mother, the only parent she has had her whole life would finally be gone. Her father, Dr. Greg Glass, was a scientist, studying something entirely different than what Alyson always thought he did. Being forced to move in with her estrange father Greg to Ashland, Alaska, where the only big thing that ever went on was talk of the elusive “Wood Beast” and seeing the drunks stumble around town and get into fights.

Noah, a eighteen year old townie whose family owns the only restaurant in Ashland named Yazzie’s, who had to deal with a drunk for a father and one for a mother, as well as being a punching bag to his father when felt he needed it.
Noah wouldn’t get stuck in this town like all the rest. He had plans and that went for his younger sister too, Sarah. They would make it out, one way or another.
Not knowing anyone in town, Alyson meets Noah and they become fast friends, and will soon become more.

Alyson and Noah go on a hunt for a town legend, but they may get more than they bargained for. Now, everyone wants them to stay away from each other, “bad news”, they say.

With new secret’s unfolding for both Alyson and Noah, who fall hard for each other after only a week together, things get a little “hairy.” Who said there was a time limit you had to wait to be in love with someone?

When secrets are revealed, it can only go up from there for them, right? Take the journey with Alyson and Noah on their hunt for finding out who they really are.
Something of a Kind was something really different for me to read. At first, it touched me on a different level, a surreal level with me having lost my mother from cancer and almost the same type Alyson’s mother had. Reading Alyson’s struggles to overcome her mother’s passing, I felt her pain and knew where she was coming from. So needless to say, I did bawl my eyes out in the beginning of this book. But, then it takes on a whole totally different spin that I did not see coming. Throw in there finding your first love, a father who won’t talk to you and a town full of drunks and you have a book that is different from most. I enjoyed this book, because of how different it was and the writing was really good. I give it 4 stars.


“I’ve been talking to this girl for all of two hours and I already pulled cancer out of her. What the hell is wrong with me?” Noah

“Greg, I am not going to stop seeing Noah.”- Alyson

“Five days, five days was enough to change everything.”-Alyson


Amazon Buy Link
Something Of A Kind

If Cassie has talked you into reading this book, please leave a review where you bought it. Every review helps the author.

Author Links:


Miranda has been kind enough to offer up 1 smashwords copy of Something of a Kind. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment telling me WHY you want to read these books and/or ASK the author a question. This is MANDATORY! For an extra entry please like Miranda’s facebook page. Make sure that you tell me you did in your comment.

Remember to follow the comments (a box you can check) to be notified to the answers to your questions!

ENDS: 12/10/2012 at 8 am CST





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



Author Racquel Jones Facebook:

Lethal Inheritance Blog Tour (Tahlia Newland)

Tahlia Newland has managed to WOW me once again with a story that takes magical realism, fantasy, and everyday problems that teenagers struggle with, and combines them into a story that will whisk you away from reality while at the same time teach you lessons in ways that are enjoyable.

Lethal Inheritance is about a teenager named Ariel, whose life is turned upside down in the blink of an eye, or rather, a scream from her mother. Cast in to a world that she did not even know existed, Ariel watched her mother get kidnapped by strange, scary creatures. Running when her mother screamed for her to, Ariel manages to get away. Met the next morning by a strange woman with an even stranger explanation of what happened and who exactly Ariel is, Ariel goes on a journey to find her mother, to a land that is practically right in her backyard, and yet, she never knew it even existed. Armed only with a beautiful dagger that she does not even know how to use, and a few supplies, Ariel sets off on a path that will take her through experiences that she never thought possible. With a guide named Walnut, and hottie named Nick, Ariel sets off to destroy the demons that took her mother, and get rid of the Serpentine (the evil inside of us), once and for all.

I have to say that this is an absolutely wonderful story for teens and adults alike. Beautifully written and full of fantasy and adventure, I found myself wanting more as soon as the last page was over. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It would make a fantastic gift to that teen in your life who is struggling with the normal issues that teenagers do. It takes the world and makes it understandable and enjoyable, and you realize that everyone doubts theirselves and this book gives you a great understanding of how to take those doubts and rid yourself of them. I give this book 5 stars and if I could, I would give it more!


Lethal Inheritance (The Diamond Peak Series)

 UK Kindle
/ Kobo Store / Smashwords


Tahlia writes magical realism and urban fantasy for young adults & adults. She likes stories that are inspiring & empowering and that question the nature of reality, mind and perception. She is an avid reader, an extremely casual high school teacher, an occasional mask-maker and has studied philosophy & meditation for many years. After scripting and performing in Visual Theatre shows for 20 years, she is now a bone-fide expatriate of the performing arts. She lives in an Australian rainforest, is married with a teenage daughter and loves cats, but she doesn’t have one because they eat native birds.

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads Author page / Amazon Author page