Tuesday, November 24, 2015

STEAMBORN: A Monstrously Fascinating Adventure and Book Giveaway

Steamborn by
Eric Asher
(Steamborn, #1)
Publication date: December 1st 2015
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult

Jacob, a tinker’s apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the city walls. These towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters move higher into the peaks every year. More and more, they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.
A swarm overruns the walls and wreaks utter devastation on the Lowlands. Charles, the old tinker, suspects the attack may not be natural. With help from Jacob’s closest friend, Alice, and Samuel, one of the city’s elite spider knights, Jacob and Charles will uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.

Pre-order at iBooks – 99¢ for a limited time!
Jacob ran. He heard the shouts of the market guards as they chased him through the muddy cobblestone streets of Ancora. Their armor gave away their position as the metal plates clanged together and their boots fell heavy on the stones.
“There!” a guard said.
Jacob dove under a peddler’s table, scattering rugs and crates as the woman hissed at him to run faster. Jacob grinned when he realized the peddler was rooting for him and not the guards. The armored guards would never be able to dip under the thick stone tables that rested across the ancient troughs. They’d have to go around, or over, and Jacob knew their armor was too heavy for that.
“Get back here, you Lowland maggot!”
Jacob glanced back. The enraged armored forms were momentarily frozen in front of the brightly colored tents and tables before Jacob vanished down an alley. They could still catch him on the next street if he wasn’t careful, or if he wasn’t fast enough.
Something sizzled in a large metal pot near the last stall he sprinted past, and for a moment, Jacob wished it were food in his pocket instead of the loot he’d been lucky to take. He slid around the corner of an old brick house with a tiled roof and slipped into a narrow alley most people never would have noticed. The Highborn guards, used to the wide streets behind the city wall, didn’t have a chance of tracking Jacob through the maze of dim back alleys.
He eased farther into the shadowed space as the shouts and curses of the guards grew louder and then faded as they passed him by. He caught a glimpse of the polished silver armor as two of the men rushed onward. None of them glanced at the small alley. Jacob smiled and felt his pockets. Still there, his fingers met the reassuring bumps of his prize. He forgot the smell of food as he imagined finishing the pistons he’d built with Charles for the new boiler. With a good cushion, they could run for hours, or more. They’d just have to—
“Jacob Arthur Anders,” a voice said from behind him, deeper in the alley.
Jacob spun, knocking his elbow on an uneven brick in the wall and cursing as he stumbled back a step. “Alice! What are you doing here?”
Alice leaned forward, her gray wool dress barely clearing the wet ground. Her red hair hung in curls, brushing her shoulder as she looked down at Jacob’s hand and frowned. She raised her eyes to meet his, and he could still tell they were blue, even in the dim light of the alley. “What did you steal now?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You have your hand over your pocket.” The amount of accusation in her voice startled him. Alice pointed at his hand and said, “You only do that when you’re hiding something.”
“None of your business,” he said, squaring his shoulders and standing up as straight as he could. It left him a fraction of an inch taller than Alice.
“Oh, I think it is my business,” she said.

Author Bio:
Eric is a former bookseller, guitarist, and comic seller currently living in Saint Louis, Missouri. A lifelong enthusiast of books, music, toys, and games, he discovered a love for the written word after being dragged to the library by his parents at a young age. When he is not writing, you can usually find him reading, gaming, or buried beneath a small avalanche of Transformers.


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Thursday, November 19, 2015


Title: State of Destruction 
Series: Collapse Series #7 
Author: Summer Lane 
Release Date: January 29th, 2016

The destruction of California is at hand. 

Cassidy Hart and Chris Young have survived a dangerous mission into the heart of Sky City, a secret Omega base hidden deep in the mountains, but their vengeance has come with a price. The dark, ominous cloud of nuclear war threatens to destroy everything they love, and they are forced to make one final stand against Omega's western invasion force. 

San Francisco. 
Cassidy and her friends retreat to Alcatraz Island, regrouping with their lethal strike team, the Angels of Death. Their mission: infiltrate the most important Omega base on the west coast, and assassinate everyone they find there, including a new and dangerous enemy, the ruthless Omega leader Veronica Klaus. 

The clock is ticking. 
Ashes rain from the sky. Cassidy Hart must make a choice. 
What is more important? Victory, love or revenge?

Omega is the enemy's name. 
Survival of the fittest is their game. 

Cassidy Hart will not stop until she has saved California...but will she be too late? 

Another year, and two more Collapse books! I am getting dangerously close to the tail end of this series, and I am not quite sure that I am ready to let Cassidy Hart go. There will be a total of 10 books in the series, so after Destruction releases, I will only have three more to write. *cue nostalgic tears* 

But that day is not yet upon us. Destruction is going to knock your socks off, I promise! I knocked mine off...and I'm the one who's writing it! 

In the meantime, please add it to your shelf on GoodReads!  

See you on January 29th, 2015! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Time Hopping with James Penn, Time-Travel Enthusiast and Writer

Can we talk about time travel for a second? Really. I love the idea of time travel, and the many scientific (and not-so-scientific) theories that surround it. 

When I picture time travel, I envision a wild-eyed professor, a Dolorian and a boy on a skateboard with a red puffer vest. 
Okay. So maybe I just picture Back to the Future. But you can't blame me - it's a great movie! 

Over the years, many books have been written and movies have been made about the idea (Kate and Leopold, anyone? How about the time-turner from Prisoner of Azkaban?

James Penn is the author of Emperors of Time, a book about four teenagers who risk it all to save their world from a group of villains from the future. Spoiler alert: TIME TRAVEL IS INVOLVED. 

James graciously agreed to visit with us today at Writing Belle. Here, in his words, are his thoughts on breaking the time barrier, his favorite movies and how exactly he became the mind-bending author that he is. 


Welcome to Writing Belle! You are one of the few authors here who has written a book based on the premise of TIME TRAVEL. Tell us about how you got into that? 

I've always been really into history, so I think it makes sense that I would write a series where the characters get to go and visit it.  I've usually been a little more in to pre-modern history than American History, but this series is based on the characters traveling back into American History.  In Emperors of Time, the characters witness part of the Civil War, see John Wilkes Booth on his way to assassinate Lincoln, and spend quite a bit of time in 1916 San Francisco where villains from the future are trying to change the future by altering the outcome of a presidential election.  The characters don't just go back in time, though, they visit the future as well, though it's a future they're trying to stop from happening.

Where did you get the idea for Emperors of Time? 

The idea randomly came to me of having the essence of an object be able to carry people back to any time and place where the object had been.  From there, I figured that someone would have had to have done something to capture that essence and make it work for them...  someone who created time travel.  From there, I had to figure out why they would want to create time travel, and the whole story kind of evolved from there.  

How much research did you have to do to write the book - how long did it take you to write it? 

The idea came to me years before, and I've had some of the ideas, scenes, and characters floating around in my head for almost that long.  But for whatever reason, after a failed attempt at starting to write it down, the story languished until about 2 years ago.  Once it was brought back, Emperors of Time took me about 4 months to write, from the time I started working on the version that eventually made it out into the world, to the end of the first draft.  Editing took another 2 months.  I had to do a fair amount research.  The idea to have a lot of the setting in 1916 San Francisco, like some of the other historical parts of the book, developed organically, so I didn't know I'd be writing about it until I had fleshed out some other parts of the book.  Once I found out the book was happening at that time and place, I naturally had to find out a lot about it.  What buildings were there in 1916 San Francisco?  What parts of the city would my characters walk through?  What did things cost at the time?  I think I came up with a pretty convincing picture of 1916 San Francisco, and the other parts of my book that I researched, but it did take a bit of work.

Why did you decide to make your main characters teenagers? 

I think that teenagers are the most fun characters to write and read about.  I got to use a lot of witty, awkward, teenager-y dialogue that just wouldn't work with adults.  Besides, as anyone who reads the book will find out, adults really shouldn't be trusted with time travel anyway.  Neither should just any teenager, of course, but the teenagers in this book are special.  

What are some of your favorite time travel movies/books? 

Hmmm....  I liked Back to the Future A Swiftly Tilting Planet (for any Madeline L'Engle fans out there).  You didn't ask about TV shows, but my favorite Time Travel series is definitely Doctor Who.

Why is writing special to you? What advice do you have to aspiring authors? 

I like the idea of reaching other people through my writing...  making someone think, making them laugh, making them, for whatever reason, hungry for that next page.  
Advice for aspiring authors would be:  The internet is a really awesome tool for getting your writing out there and getting other people to look at it and talk to you about it.  Back when I was in high school and college, I wrote a good bit of Harry Potter fanfiction, and it was really cool to have people read, review, and care about things that I was writing.  It was much later that I found online publishing, but that has also been great.  A lot of this stuff was much harder 15 years ago when you had to print out the whole story and try to make your friends and relatives read it just to get an idea of whether it was any good or not.  

Is there a sequel to Emperors of Time? Any other writing projects in the works?

Yep:  The sequel, Fugitives of Time is available on amazon at http://goo.gl/kSX7FP
A third book in the series should be coming out hopefully in Summer 2016.

Where can readers connect with you online? 

twitter:  @JWilsonPenn

Thank you for stopping by! 
Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Celebrating National Young Readers Day: Favorite Bedtime Stories

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved to read. Obviously, nothing has changed. I have read many books over the course of my life, and I plan on continuing to do so for the rest of it. Reading is amazing. It's magical and transportive and soothing. It gives you the opportunity to travel the world, go into space, fall in love, save the universe and learn to remake yourself entirely. Reading is, in essence, the very definition of magic. 

Today is National Young Readers Day, and in honor of this occasion, here is a list of my favorite books that I used to read as a kid before bedtime (and still occasionally do, just for fun!). 

The Giant Jam Sandwich
Story and Pictures by John Vernon Lord 
with Verses by Janet Burroway 

One hot summer in Itching Down, four million wasps flew into town...! 

Of all the books in my house, I read this one more than any other. It was my favorite. I was enamored with it as a child, and to this day, I think it's one of the cleverest picture books out there. 

A Fly Went By 
By Mike McClintock 
Illustrated by Fritz Siebel 

What happens when a fly goes by? A ridiculous series of events that's sure to entertain readers of all ages. 

This picture book was one of my dad's favorite books as a kid, and he passed that favoritism down to me. He used to read it to me when I was a little girl. I loved it. You'll love it, too. Remember, you're never too old to read a picture book. 

A Fish Out of Water 
By Helen Palmer 
Illustrated by P.D. Eastman 

"When you feed a fish, never feed him a lot. So much and no more! Never more than a spot, or something may happen! You never know what." 

This fishy tale of a goldfish who gets a wee bit overfed is also a classic. The way it's written is beautifully entertaining. 

Green Eggs and Ham 
By Dr. Seuss 

"Do you like green eggs and ham?" 
"I do not like them, Sam-I-Am. I do not like green eggs and ham." 

What's more classic than a Dr. Seuss story? To this day, it's hard to find anything more charming that stories like Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who and The Lorax. 

Big Dog, Little Dog
By P.D. Eastman 

What happens when a little dog and a big dog (Ted and Fred, respectively) take a trip together? Big and little trouble, that's what! 

I wasn't the only one who kept this book in my room as a child. My brother did, too. It's simply endearing, and yet another child's masterpiece by P.D. Eastman. 

Over In The Meadow: An Old Counting Rhyme By David A. Carter 

Over in the meadow, 
Where the stream runs blue, 
Lived an old mother fish, 
And her little fishes, two, 
Swim! Said the Mother. 
We Swim! Said the two. 
So they swam and they leaped where the stream runs blue. 

This rhyming book helped me learn to count as a little one, but I remembered every line because my mother would sing it to me with music. Definitely a keeper. 

When it comes down to it, I have WAY TOO MANY favorite books to include, but these are just a few that really stand out from the rest. What are your favorite childhood reads? 

Encourage a child to read today. It can their life. It changed mine! 

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Let's Talk About Romance! J.D. Nelson Brings SWOON and STEAM

By now, you may have noticed that I met some pretty cool people at the ZappCon event in Fresno a couple of weeks ago. (For those who don't know, ZappCon is a rather large convention where lovers of fictional lore and memorabilia converge to discuss their shared nerdiness, of which apparently I am a part of...)

One of those people was J.D. Nelson, a writer of swoon worthy romance tales. She owns a small publishing house and has published four books so far, with more releases on the way. Her books have plenty of adventure, lots of steam and a good dose of fantasy. Check out what she had to say about living in California and writing those love interests that are simply to die for! 

You live in the Central Valley of California (just like me!). What was it like moving from Mobile, Alabama, to San Francisco, and then to the Central Valley?
There was definitely a bit of culture shock involved in moving to the Bay Area, however, it really wasn’t that bad. I know most people think of Alabama as a backwoods kind of a state, but I’m from a city with a population of about 500,000 people, so it wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. Moving to the Central Valley was a little harder. Although Mobile was hot and humid, the valley is almost unbearably hot! It makes me long for rainy afternoons and shade trees.

How did you being your writing journey?
In 2009, I fell ill and was out of work for nearly a month. During that time, I bought a Kindle and read everything I could get my hands on. One of the first authors I read was PC Cast. Her Goddess books are amazing. I wrote her an email to that effect, and she immediately returned the correspondence. In her email, she mentioned how eloquently worded my email was and thanked me for writing. After my shock, I started thinking about her words and decided that if she thought I was a good writer, then maybe others would, too. Three years later, I published Night Aberrations.

How many books have you published so far?
I’ve published four books but have written many more. The finished novels are lined up to be published every three or four months until 2017.

If someone were to ask you what the secret to writing a great romance novel is, what would you tell them?
I think to make a romance great, you have to have a bit of experience in romance. It’s sort of like how a doctor has to go to medical school. You have to know what you’re doing to write those steamy scenes!

You own Chaste Moon Publishing. Tell us a little about that.
Chaste Moon started out as a name to put on self-published books that wasn’t my own. I thought it sounded more professional than just my name or having Amazon or Barnes, Smashwords, or
Noble as the publisher.
But that was so three years ago! Things have changed quite a bit over the past year.  In August, we hired a professional editor to start doing edits and proofreading for aspiring authors and will soon start publishing their books. Hopefully, this is will be an exciting new chapter (no pun intended) in expanding our business!

Just for fun, please tell us about your four cats who think they're dogs!
I have three boys and one girl, all rescue animals. Checkers, our oldest, is a big fat love bug. He turned fourteen in June. Sadie Mae is next oldest at thirteen and a half. She’s very ill, but still a sassy thing that loves to be loved. Coonie is five and probably the craftiest cat I’ve ever seen. He’s smart, clever, and a little bit evil. Cat Sajak is our newest addition. He turns one next month and is only interested in one thing—playing! They drive us crazy, but I don’t know what we’d do without them meeting us at the door when we come in to demand our immediate attention.

You also attended ZappCon in October, in Fresno, California. What was that like?
Fun! It was great to see all the costumes and meet interesting, like-minded people. I think my favorite part of the whole conference was the impromptu dance party the last thirty minutes before closing. Seeing Spiderman break it down to Uptown Funk has a way of sticking with you!

Any upcoming releases scheduled or appearances?
The second book in the Wicked Ways Series will be releasing on November 15th, but my next appearance isn’t until April at the Roanoke Author Invasion in Roanoke, Virginia. After that, I’m hoping to attend ModestoCon in July.

Where can we connect with you online? 

JD Nelson's Official Website -  www.authorjdnelson.com (You can find all the buy links here)
JD Nelson's Goodreads Page - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6060770.J_D_Nelson
JD Nelson's Facebook - www.facebook.com/NightAberrations
JD Nelson's Facebook Fan Page - www.facebook.com/JDNelsonsNightAberrations
JD Nelson's Super Secret Fan Club - http://www.facebook.com/groups/269730583130725/
JD Nelson's Blog - www.nightaberrations.blogspot.com/
JD Nelson's BookLikes - http://booklikes.com/j-d-nelson/author,2824672
JD Nelson's tsÅ« - https://www.tsu.co/JDNelson
JD Nelson's Twitter - https://twitter.com/authorjdnelson
JD Nelson's Ello - https://ello.co/authorjdnelson

Thank you so much for visiting with us! Happy writing!

About the Author 
 JD Nelson is a Bestselling Author of Fantasy Romance and Erotic Paranormal Romance. She is also the owner of Chaste Moon Publishing, an independent publishing house. A transplant from Mobile, Alabama, she gave up Mardi Gras and frequent hurricanes to move to the earthquake capital of the United States, the San Francisco Bay Area. She now lives in Central Valley, California with her amazingly supportive husband and four cats who think they're dogs. 

Always short on time, JD has long ago mastered the art of procrastination and was recently crowned Procrastinator of the Year by her editor, which is only slightly better than her being voted Most Likely to Waste Time by Watching Vampire Movies by her readers last year. All jokes aside, JD is a boringly normal person who thinks that coffee pretty much fixes everything ... as long as it's before 6:30AM and the planet Mars is in retrograde. When she's not spending time with her sexy Swedish husband, you can find her writing, reading, or on her commute to her day job where she wrangles paint onto canvas for the entertainment industry. 

JD loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her through her website, AuthorJDNelson.com, or on Facebook, where she spends an alarming amount of time chatting to her many author and reader friends, much to the dismay of her continually neglected manuscripts.