Monday, July 29, 2013

Cover Reveal - GIDEON'S SPEAR by Darby Karchut

The sequel to FINN FINNEGAN
By Darby Karchut
Gideon’s Spear
(The Adventures of Finn MacCullen #2)
For Finn MacCullen, it’s time to Irish up.
With a shout, Finn held the spear aloft. “Come along, ye manky beasties,” he yelled, throwing every bit of Gideon-ness he could into his voice. “I’ve a wee point to share with ye!” Gripping the end of the shaft in both hands, he swung it around and around over his head, creating a whistling sound. “Faugh a ballagh!”
“The Spear!” Goblin voices screeched in panic. “The Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan!”
“Yeah, you got that right!” Finn yelled back.
When a power-crazed sorceress and the neighborhood pack of beast-like goblins team up and threaten both his master and his friends, thirteen-year-old Finn (not Finnegan) MacCullen does the only thing an apprentice monster hunter can do: he takes the fight to the enemy.
And woe to the foe he meets along the way.
Without further ado, here it is:
Finn Finnegan
(Book One of The Adventures of Finn MacCullen)
“Overall, a great choice for adventure-loving readers who prefer their battle scenes with a hefty dose of ancient weaponry, ground-fighting skills, and just a touch of magic." --School Library Journal
"If Lloyd Alexander had written The Ranger's Apprentice, the result might have been something like Finn Finnegan. Fantastic!" --Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall and Ashen Winter
"Finn Finnegan brings classic adventure into a modern day setting for a great read.”
--Dee Garretson, author of Wildfire Run and Wolf Storm
Title: Gideon's Spear (The sequel to Finn Finnegan)
Author: Darby Karchut
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  978-1-937053-94-9
Release Date: 2/4/2014
Formats: Paper, e-book

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Spotlight: SONGSTONE by Lena Goldfinch

Today we're spotlighting SONGSTONE by Lena Goldfinch! First of all, let's check out a truly beautiful cover:
About the Book  
Kita can meld song into stone. In a world with no written word, storytelling—the ability to meld (or magically impress) song into stone—is greatly honored. The village honors her master as their medicine man, but Kita knows he's secretly a sorcerer who practices black magic using drops of her blood. She fears he’ll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it from him. Each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope. His spells blind the villagers, so they can’t see him for what he really is.

Not that anyone would want to help her. She was found in the forest as a baby and would have died if a village girl hadn't brought her home. But the villagers saw Kita's unusual coloring and decided she belonged to the mysterious tribe who lives in the forests of the volcano, a people feared for their mystical powers. So they fear her too. Now seventeen, she can barely admit her deepest longing: to know who she really is and where she belongs.

Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He's come to fulfill a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village—a storyteller who'll be chosen at the great assembly. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom and she'll risk her life to take it.

A dark, twisty tale of sorcery, tummy-tingling romance, and adventure, inspired by the folklore of New Zealand's Māori people.
About the Author

Lena lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose of "sigh-worthy" romance. You can visit her online at
Author’s Links
There's also a sweet summer giveaway in conjunction with the blog tour! The giveaway is open internationally, and one winner (randomly drawn) will receive:
·         A signed copy of Songstone (Paperback)
·         A sea glass necklace with turtle charm (Picture will be included on the blog tour home page and in the introduction post)
·         A $10 Dairy Queen gift card (U.S.) or a $10 gift card (international)
Click the following link to enter the giveaway: SONGSTONE giveaway
You can find Songstone on:
~ Amazon (Kindle)
~ Barnes & Noble (Nook)
~ Kobo
Thanks to @SeasonsHumility @lena_goldfinch for letting me share in the fun! SONGSTONE looks like it will be a great read!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Authors and Amazon: A Strange Relationship, Indeed

If any of you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you probably saw some of these pictures late last week:


I just about died when Copper Girl hit #37

And then, lucky # 13!

We had a bit of excitement there, with Copper Girl heading all the way up to #13 in the Fantasy Romance category on Amazon. I, for one, couldn’t look away. I mean, author rankings are updated every hour. Every freaking hour! Not so long ago, authors had to wait weeks or even months for sales numbers. Yet here these ranking are, in almost real time.

Is it any wonder, then, that no matter how much someone detests the large book store chains, or Amazon in particular, authors are always drawn to them? Yes, we should all be supporting our local indie bookstore (I highly recommend The Spiral Bookcase – ask for Ann, she’ll take good care of you!), but Amazon has so many guilty pleasures: reviews, sales rankings, even a little map showing how our work is selling in each state. It’s an information-starved author's dream.

But, what is this information really telling us? As a quick Google search on Amazon author rankings will reveal, next to nothing. When you log into your Author Central page you can see BookScan numbers, this much is true, but you don’t see all the numbers. What’s worse, you don’t know which retailer’s numbers you’re looking at, because it isn’t specified. And, Amazon’s numbers are specifically not included, because they consider their information to be proprietary. Unless you’re self-published and put your work up via Kindle Direct Publishing, you don’t even get Kindle sales.

Copper Girl may have reached #13, but for the life of me I have no idea how many copies it sold to get there. I do, however, have access to a lovely sales graph.

What does all this mean? Well, the numbers may not be complete, but they’re better than nothing. You can also do some lovely sprucing up via your author page, adding such things as book trailers, Twitter feeds, and other information. All in all, it’s not such a bad system.

And, I will never forget how great it felt to see my little book reach #13. Happiness is priceless.
Sara had always been careful.

She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.

Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara's dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - Rescuing Max

As some of you may know, I was at Readercon this past Friday. I was lucky enough to read from Copper Girl, and following is the passage.

A little background: Sara's brother was arrested ten years ago for practicing magic, and his family hasn't seen him since. Having discovered where Max is being held, Sara and Micah decide to embark on a rescue mission.

Twilight came, and under cover of darkness, Micah and I left the relative safety of the Raven Compound and my fairy mother behind. I would definitely be asking her a few questions about that when we had the time. Now, we were hiding in the woods that encircled the stone prison that, in turn, encircled my brother.

As we crouched in the damp, decaying leaves, I considered how much my life had changed in such a short time. Only a week ago, I had been an office drone whose only indulgences had been caffeinated beverages and fast driving. I had pretended to know nothing of the ways of magic, had hidden my mark from anyone who might glimpse it; I had never hung out at a beach or even sunbathed in the park, never joined a gym, never worn any of the cute, fashionable shirts that might have ridden up and revealed my secret. I had been gifted with one of the strongest bloodlines in history, yet I’d spent much of my life wishing for the magic to just leave me alone.

No more would I hide. I was a Corbeau by birthright and the daughter of a fairy queen.

I am a force to be reckoned with.

I slid my hand into Micah’s, seeking a bit of warmth for my cold fingers. He squeezed reassuringly but didn’t look away from the prison. And well he shouldn’t, since we’d been waiting for the guards to change for the better part of an hour.

“Do you think it will work?” I’d asked back at the Compound. The Raven had given me one of its feathers, still glossy and black despite the many centuries since his death, along with the assurance that we would be able to leave the prison with Max in tow, unseen and unstopped by the guards. Of course, like all things magical, it had come with a hefty catch: our dreamselves could not carry the feather, thus making this rescue all the more dangerous.

“What does your heart tell you?” Micah countered.

“It’s rather silent on the matter,” I replied, though, in truth, it beat a quick tattoo  against my breastbone. “But I do know that The Raven has never failed my family, not once, when we needed him.”

Micah had smiled at that; in the Otherworld, the integrity of a long-dead bird was as good as gold.

Once we’d returned to the Otherworld, the rest of our preparations had been simple. First, we’d spent a good amount of time placing small pieces of metal in various pockets and pouches about our bodies, retrievable at a moment’s notice, in case we needed to wield it, either to strike a foe with added force or even build a wall. Well, in case Micah needed to wield it, since I was still limited to gently bending small portions of copper.

At first I didn’t understand why the metal we secreted in our clothing was mostly iron. Micah had a quantity of silver within his body to call upon, and I’d assumed he would stay true to his metal. When I asked, he explained that it was far more effective to strike someone with iron than silver.

“Is that why Ferra’s a queen?” I’d asked when he pointed that out. “Because iron is a stronger metal?”

“In a way. You don’t find her to be the picture of royalty?”

I made one of those unladylike sounds that Micah so disapproved of. Really, he was just going to have to accept the fact that I was not very refined. “I always imagined a queen as a kind woman, who cared for her people more than anything. Ferra is not that sort of woman.” An image of my mother appeared in my mind’s eye; while I hadn’t known she was a queen, Mom would move mountains for her family. I couldn’t imagine her behaving like the despicable Iron Queen, not one bit. “And shouldn’t the queen be a precious metal, like gold or platinum?”

He smiled ruefully. “Things are not always as they should be.” I caught the sadness in his tone, and remembered the gold gaudily displayed in Ferra’s palace, and the gold lined oubliette. I also remembered that silver is a precious metal too, surely worthier of the throne than ugly old iron. But Micah didn’t want to talk about it, and he turned his attention to the far more pressing task of breaking Max out of prison. As for me, I let him get away with his distraction technique. For now.

“It is getting inside that requires stealth,” Micah murmured as we watched the guards. “Leaving shall be simplicity itself.”

By simplicity, Micah meant that he intended to take Max and me along one of the metal pathways he used for traveling, much as he did in the Mundane World. In order to accomplish this, he’d tasked the silverkin with placing sufficient metal at short intervals between the prison and his home, almost like a trail of silvery breadcrumbs, to guide us to safety. Since the prison proper contained only a small amount of metal in the various electronic devices, and all metal had been removed from the soil underneath it, it was the best we could do.

I nodded, deliberately not speaking, or even thinking, about our impending escape. Micah was confident, and that was all that mattered. Never mind that it was a foolish, risky plan that centered on a dead bird’s feather and a few pounds of iron filings. Never mind that it could very well end with Micah and me either dead or sharing Max’s cell. Nope, not thinking about that at all.

Micah lightly touched my arm and jerked his chin toward the prison. The guard had finally retreated to a small side building the size of a garden shed, and through the window, I could see him munching on a sandwich. Carefully, we rose and Micah wrapped his cloak around both of our shoulders.

“You’re sure this will work?” I asked.

“It worked the last time,” he replied. “They never saw who breached their puny wall.”

“I thought you were your dreamself.”

“I woke as soon as I sensed you in danger.” Huh. So Micah, in his wakeful body, had charged through a stone fortress full of enemies armed with terrible, terrible weapons, enemies with a special taste for Dreamwalkers at that, all for me.

I stood on my toes and stretched to kiss his jaw. He touched my hair but said nothing, not that I’d expected him to. He had to concentrate on blending in.

Micah referred to his cloak as his chameleon skin, but it wasn’t really a lizard’s hide. As near as I could tell, the fabric was woven from various plants with magical properties; close to the hem I could make out something like mandrake leaves, and the clasp was a curl of belladonna, complete with dark, shiny berries. The sum total of these plants meant that the cloak would keep Micah either warm or cool as needed, lend him speed if he were pursued, and hide him from his enemies. Not like a cloak of invisibility, he’d cautioned me. Some things were quite rare, even in the Otherworld. No, this cloak worked more like a pencil eraser, blurring itself along the edges, so it was hard to tell where the cloak ended and the surrounding landscape began. If one looked directly at Micah one would see him, clear as day, but who looked directly at something that isn’t there? This chameleon skin was a most useful garment indeed.

Gingerly, we made our way across the open space toward the imposing cinder block wall encircling the prison. Unlike Micah’s last visit, when he had rushed into an unknown environment hoping his illusion would hold, we were trying to be subtle. Conveniently, there was no door or fence, just an opening wide enough to drive a truck through, flanked by cameras and plastic spike strips, poised to be flung under any uninvited tires. I wondered how well plastic fared against rubber.

My heart pounded so loudly I thought the guard would surely hear it, but he didn’t look up from his lunch as we walked by the shed or as we stepped beyond the wall. A few steps later, Micah opened the door to the facility, and, as anticlimactic as it was, that was it.

We were in.


Monday, July 1, 2013

BREAKING GLASS by Lisa Amowitz - Interview, goodies, and more!

Today, I am lucky enough to host a stop on the blog tour for Lisa Amowitz's  debut novel, BREAKING GLASS! Without further ado, let's move on to the interview: 

You’ve managed to craft a story that’s equal parts thriller and mystery, with a healthy dose of coming-of-age drama. What gave you the original idea for Breaking Glass?

I’ve been asked this in almost all the interviews I’ve given and each time I answer it a little differently—but for you my dear, Jennifer, I shall list them all.


1)      the tumultuous relationship between the uptight landlady of the summer property we rented four years ago and her bitchy spoiled daughter. (don’t ask me why).

2)      The tree on that same property with twisted roots.

3)      My son’s friend’s stubborn obsession with a very flighty and unreliable girl all through high school.

4)      The way boys, in general totally hate to talk about their real feelings.

5)      The creepy twisty roads in the town of Croton-on-Hudson

6)      The reservoir in Croton-on-Hudson

7)      The little spark of an idea I had about a boy who raises a girl from the dead and messes around with her ghost.


What made you position Jeremy as a track star?

Because it’s the perfect occupation for a kid who is trying to run from his past.


Susannah, the girl at the center of Jeremy Glass’s world, is quite a talented artist, as is the author. Anything autobiographical there? Yes—just a bit, in that I was once a moody, wacky little art girl back in the day and had my share of boys that seemed to romanticize me without really trying understand who I really was. But that’s really the only similarity.



Not only is Jeremy an amateur Civil War historian, you also delve into Kabbalah. Did these diverse subjects involve a lot of research? You might say that while writing Breaking Glass, Wikipedia was my best friend. My real nerdish obsessions kicked in for a book about Nathan Hale I has since set aside, but still plan to write one of these days. I really do love American History, particularly Revolutionary War history. If you scroll through the pages of Breaking Glass, you will find the Nathan Hale reference.


What an exciting debut novel! What’s next for you? Why thank you, Jennifer! I have the first book in the Finder Series, VISION, releasing next year in May from Spencer Hill Press. It’s the story of Bobby Pendell, a boy stricken with debilitating visions that set him on the trail of a serial killer in his small country town. I am also working on a young adult murder mystery with much more blatant autobiographical elements.


Thanks so much for having me! These were really great and thoughtful questions.

BREAKING GLASS from Spencer Hill Press, July 2013

by Lisa Amowitz

On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he’s not sure whether they’re real or if he’s losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.

ISBN: 978-1937053383


Author bio:




Lisa Amowitz was born in Queens and raised in the wilds of Long Island, New York where she climbed trees, thought small creatures lived under rocks and studied ant hills. And drew. A lot.

When she hit her teens, she realized that Long Island was too small for her and she needed to escape. So she went to college in Pittsburgh. Go figure.

On leaving college, Lisa became a graphic designer living in New York City. She eventually married her husband of a zillion years, had two lovely children, and was swept away to a fairy tale life in the Bronx, where, unbelievably there are more trees and wilderness than her hometown. She can see the Hudson River from her kitchen window.

Lisa has been a professor of Graphic Design at her beloved Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly seventeen years. She started writing eight years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children.

BREAKING GLASS which will be released in July, 2013 from Spencer Hill Press, is her first published work. VISION, the first of the Finder series will be released in 2014, along with an unnamed sequel in the following year. LIFE AND BETH will also be released in the near future, along with graphic novel style art.


Rafflecopter link:


Giveaway items:

(1)   custom pendant like the one pictured on the book cover

(2) signed ARCS

(1) original work of Breaking Glass related art created and signed by the author.

We are also going to be making a free download of SHARDS, which is an illustrated preview of BREAKING GLASS.


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