Friday, February 28, 2014

Fun Fridays 7 ~ Put Your Imaginations To Work!

Mulluane | Friday, February 28, 2014 | 4 Comments so far
Wheee! Another busy week. I put up a review on Monday at DHW, Indie Spotlight on Tuesday, Wacky Interview on Wednesday, another review on Thursday and look! It is Friday again!

All while fighting a nasty sore throat that refuses to go away.

This week's question is a bit more serious and alot more thought provoking. It is one of those questions that could be hilarious or it could be heartfelt.

Because of this I am going to ask for 2 answers. One being the funniest you can think of and another version that is more "real." (You can of course answer only one way or the other. I just think two would be more interesting.)

Here is your question, if you choose to accept it...


If you were offered a chance to perform only one miracle, what would it be?



Picture of a funny donkeyPicture of a doctor


♦ My Answers ♦


♥ Funny Answer ♥

I'd turn everybody into donkeys. Not sure if that would be a miracle really. Alot of people are already asses and bray alot...

♥ Serious Answer ♥ 

This one is much much harder. The list of possibilities is really long. I think I'd eradicate cancer but in such a way that it can never come back, in any form, ever.

I could wish for world peace, clean air, save the oceans, restore the rainforests, end world hunger but the way I look at it, by saving billions of brilliant people from dying way too young I'd be making it possible for us to solve those problems ourselves. Besides, think of the money that is spent on cancer research and medical bills. That money could then be spent on answers to the other global problems. Win/Win!

♦ So what miracle(s) would you perform? We are looking forward to your answers! ♦

Don't like this question? Look here "Fun Fridays" and see if there is one you do like! Comments are always welcome, even on older posts.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dreams and Shadows: A Novel

Mulluane | Thursday, February 27, 2014 | 6 Comments so far

by C. Robert Cargill



There is another world than our own—one no closer than a kiss and one no further than our nightmares—where all the stuff of which dreams are made is real and magic is just a step away. But once you see that world, you will never be the same.

Dreams and Shadows takes us beyond this veil. Once bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, Ewan is now an Austin musician who just met his dream girl, and Colby, meanwhile, cannot escape the consequences of an innocent wish. But while Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom as children, it has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies argue metaphysics with foul-mouthed wizards, and monsters in the shadows feed on fear, you can never outrun your fate.


*Blurb source*Harper Voyager
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
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Book Cover of Dreams and Shadows: A Novel by C. Robert Cargill

| Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
| Content: Fae, Parallel World, Adventure
| ISBN-10: 0062190431
| ISBN-13: 9780062190437
| Publisher: Harper Voyager (October 29, 2013)
| Paperback: 464 pages
| Cover Artist: Paula Russell Szafranski
| Source: Publisher in exchange for honest review.
| Rating: 4/5 Stars
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Add Dreams and Shadows to Goodreads



♥ Mini Review ♥
Ever so often I like to step out of my comfort zone and test the waters so to speak. Usually what I discover is validation for my reading preferences. I'm generally much happier reading High Fantasy and similar genres. But... Sometimes I discover a book which grabs me despite its modern setting. This ended up being one of those books.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Interview - Paul Cude - Author of Bentwhistle The Dragon - A Young Adult Fantasy Series

Mulluane | Wednesday, February 26, 2014 | 1 Comment so far

(Wacky Interview Series)


In case you missed the first interviews in this series, here is the deal...I read alot of author interviews and they are good, informative, and interesting but rarely tell me all that much about an author's personality. I often find myself thinking, "Well that's all good and everything but I want to know more about the real live person behind the book!"

So, I decided to conduct a "fun" interview; something that will give my readers a good laugh and be fun for the authors. You will not find serious questions covering books, publishing, writing or future plans. Instead you will get a chance to see how they react to a bunch of crazy questions and scenarios.


This time around I asked Paul Cude -- author of Bentwhistle The Dragon, A Young Adult Fantasy Series -- if he would consent to do one of these and he agreed!


He came up with some great answers so here for your reading pleasure is a look inside of the mind of Paul Cude...



Paul Cude - Author Photo


1) Who is your favorite comedian or cartoon character and why?
It has to be the Road Runner. I love the way he outwits Wile E Coyote every time and then mocks him with a MHEEP MHEEP, before speeding off into the distance. Who wouldn't want to be that smart, and able to out think your nemesis at every twist and turn, no matter how elaborate their devious and cunning plans are? The Road Runner is vastly underrated and has the mind of a genius.

2) How would you describe your sense of humor?
Quirky/Wicked/Cheeky/Twisted I suppose. My wife also said 'daring'. Generally I'm quite shy, so among strangers or on meeting new people, my sense of humour probably wouldn't come across too much. But with my friends, family and people I know well it comes to the fore and they would probably all think of me as being renowned for my sense of humour. In the past, as part of numerous hockey teams, I've played more than my fair share of pranks, as well as being on the end of quite a few. I think if you dish it out, you certainly have to be able to take it with good grace. On one occasion, it was one of the female hockey player's birthdays. Being Welsh, she used to get plenty of sheep jokes fired her way. She had a party at the sports club. Unbeknown to her, we'd stolen her car keys, moved her car to the very edge of the car park, not quite visible from the clubhouse, and dressed said car up as a giant sheep. It looked brilliant! It was covered in wool, we'd made a face, legs, the lot. But that wasn't the best part. On our away hockey match, the five people in my car had spent the entire trip, there and back, the previous morning, all recording a cassette. A cassette of sheep noises. With the sheep/car situated in the right place, everybody turning up for the birthday party, was greeted by a giant sheep that continuously BAAed at them. This went on for about the first hour and a half, until one of the last arriving guests mentioned to the birthday girl, how much they loved the sheep. We/ I was rumbled. Everyone thought it hilarious. Needless to say she got her own back some time later.

As well, with people I know, it would be fair to say I mock them, possibly a little too much. I played in one hockey team with a very talented, but quite moody teenager. We started to become friends, and of course I started mocking him, as I would some of the other players (those closest to me). I played a prank on him in front of the whole clubhouse one Saturday night, phoning up and pretending to be his girlfriend. Unusually, he took it quite hard. A while later, we ended up speaking about it outside. He couldn't understand why I'd done it, and was upset that we weren't friends. At the time, it was all I could do not to laugh. I sat him down and got him to think about all those members of the side that were my closest friends. I asked him to think about how I behaved towards them. He did, for a few minutes, but was still puzzled. It was only when I explained that the players in the team I didn't mock, weren't very close to me, and I would only regard as teammates and not true friends. I also pointed out that my closest friends were generally the ones that I mocked mercilessly. He cheered up quite a lot after that. We've been firm friends ever since. 

3) What did you want to be when you grew up?
I can remember being quite small and wanting to be a deep sea diver when I was older. I had an action man figure that had all the diving equipment, air tanks, mask, flippers, etc and I would play with it non-stop. I also seem to remember having some books about divers. When I was a little older, not quite in my teens, I can remember wanting to just draw. I would spend hours in my bedroom drawing things from my imagination (generally Star Wars) or trying desperately to copy things from one of my comics. I used to regularly get a comic called 2000AD. The artwork was mesmerising. I found myself tracing it at first, but it wasn't long before I could copy some of it freehand. Of course it wasn't really that good, but I loved doing it, and I suppose if it wasn't for the fact that I found hockey only a short while later, then perhaps my life might have taken a different direction. 

4) Which magical power would you like to have and why?
I would like the ability to read minds. To be able to tell if someone is telling the truth would be a great asset. As well, it would save so much time. If someone tells you they're going to do something, but you can look into their mind and see that they have no intention of doing what they've just said, you needn't waste your time waiting and hoping for them to follow through. It shouldn't be necessary, but would almost certainly be valuable beyond belief. If I had this ability, the first thing I would want to do would be to find some politicians and ask them some awkward questions. 

5) If aliens landed in your backyard, what is the first thing you would ask them?
I'd travel back to my early teens and chat to myself. I'd tell me about some of the mistakes I'd make, in an effort to avoid them. I'd also tell me how rewarding I find working in a classroom with children and how much I want the teen me to train as a teacher, in the hope that he would listen. And to offer some kind of hope, I'd tell the teen me about the happy ending......how happily married I am, to a wonderful wife, and how I have the two most gorgeous children in the world.

6) What would you do if you had a time machine?
I think I would be afraid to use it. Maybe I’ve watched too many sci-fi movies and Twilight Zone episodes, but I carry the fear that changing one little thing in the past will set off a chain of events that could obliterate the existence of mankind.

7) If you had a chance to spend some time with one mythical being, what would it be and why?
No contest on this one. It has to be a dragon, given that my books and dreams are both full of them. Imagine seeing something like that cutting through the air from a distance! It's hard to think of a more powerful or seductive sight. I guess it would be both awe inspiring and terrifying at the same time, to see something with that much power, ferocity and beauty, in its natural environment. It would be a dream come true to witness it. And just maybe I could hitch a ride....that's hard to imagine, but I can't think of any other experience that could beat a journey on a dragon's back.

8) If you could be reincarnated as an animal, what would you be and why?
This is much trickier than I thought it would be. Part of me likes the idea of being something at the top of the food chain, like a Saltwater Crocodile or a Great White Shark. It would encompass my love of the water, with my fascination for animals that scare me. But on reflection, it's difficult to pass up the chance to have the ability to fly. I can only imagine how exhilarating it must be to whip in and out of the trees, to zoom effortlessly up a stream, only inches above the water. Just thinking about it sends goose bumps down my back. So on consideration, I think I'd like to be a bird, something like a Kingfisher, that lives near the water, and spends most of its time in or around rivers. Moving water has always fascinated me. 

9.) What quirky habit do you have that often gets you teased by your peers or family?
Two quirky habits. The first is that I have a 'spot' on the sofa, just like Sheldon from 'The Big Bang Theory'. My children and wife tease me about this....all I can say is that I had my spot, long before the 'Big Bang Theory' was even made. Second, if we go for a day out somewhere (the beach, theme park, shopping for the day) I always insist on leaving really early and missing out on all the traffic. Much as I used to be able to lie in until mid-morning, the arrival of children has long since seen all of that disappear, and since I despise being stuck in traffic (a pet hate from over 15 years of being a service engineer) we all leave as early as possible. Most of the time we've had our day out, done everything we've wanted to, and watch the traffic queuing in the opposite direction as we return home. There are no complaints about what time we left when that happens. 

10.) My readers want to know what you had for breakfast. Not sure why exactly...
I had a strawberry yoghurt, normally my breakfast of choice. But sometimes it's porridge. I'm diabetic you see, and try very hard to eat healthily. It's not easy, but I find breakfast the easiest time of the day to eat something that's good for me. I only tend to struggle in the evening, but of late, things have been going a lot better. 

11.) Why in the world did you consent to doing this wacky interview? I mean there is not one question here about your books, your writing or your future plans!
You're right...there's not. But a glimpse into the personality of an author can be a rare and special thing. My books for example are all about me. If you wanted to learn about everything that I value, and everything that goes on in my tiny little head, you should read one of my books. Hockey, dragons, loyalty, family, all blended together with the slightly twisted/quirky/wicked/cheeky sense of humour I mentioned before. And who, at one time or another, hasn't wondered what the author of a book they're reading thinks? Whether it's about some aspect of the plot, the setting, or one of the characters. My favourite author in the whole world is Terry Pratchett, he of Disc World fame. I would love to meet him for half an hour. I'm convinced we would get on like a house on fire. To me, his books are fabulous. I can instantly visualise the plot, and the humour has me crying with laughter. I'm positive we share the exact same sense of humour. As well, it's great to get an insight into the thoughts of others. One of his books opens with some of the guards running a scam, getting carts pulled by horses clamped, while a camera with an imp inside photographs (draws a picture) of other carts going either too slow, or fast. You just know that all of that must have come to him, when at some point he's been caught in a speed camera, or given a parking ticket. What a fabulous mind. I love the way it works.

Thanks to Paul Cude for consenting to do this interview!


(Author info, Book info, Affiliate links)

♥ Book One - A Threat From The Past - is available at these fine retailers: 
Amazon ~ Book Depository ~ AbeBooks ~ Books A Million and on Smashwords

♥ Book Two - A Chilling Revelation - is releasing on Smashwords March 1, 2014

♥ You can connect with Paul Cude on the Bentwhistle Facebook Page or follow Paul on Twitter

♥ For more info on the author and his books please check out: The Bentwhistle website or Paul's blog

♥ For more info on the books, please check out my Spotlight Post

♦ And While You Are Here ♦ 
 
Check Out More Wacky Author Interviews!

~ or ~

Check Out The Wacky Reader Interviews!



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Indie Spotlight: Bentwhistle The Dragon: Series by Paul Crude ~ Young Adult Fantasy

Mulluane | Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | Be the first to comment!


♥ 2 Young Adult Fantasy Showcases ♥



Book Cover of Bentwhistle The Dragon: A Threat From The Past by Paul Crude

| Title: A Threat from the Past
| Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
| Content: Adventure, Dragons, Parallel World
| ISBN-10: 0755206789
| ISBN-13: 9780755206780
| Publisher: Authors OnLine Ltd (October 19, 2011)
| Paperback: 384 pages
| Cover Artist: Steve A Roberts
| eBook Currently Free on Amazon and Smashwords




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Flowing Dragon Gif Page Divider



Book Cover of Bentwhistle The Dragon: A Chilling Revelation by Paul Crude

| Title: A Chilling Revelation
| Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
| Content: Adventure, Dragons, Parallel World
| ASIN: B00ILPLFNW
| ISBN-13: 9781311662255
| Publisher: 
Authors OnLine Ltd (March 1, 2014)
| Paperback:  371 pages

| Cover Artist: Steve A Roberts
| Releases March 1, 2014 ~ Available on Smashwords



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♦ About the Author ♦

Paul Cude was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England in 1968. As a small child he moved to Salisbury, and as a much older child (12) developed a fanatical interest in playing field hockey - something he is still obsessed about to this very day. A photocopier, fax and printer engineer for many years, redundancy allowed him the privilege of becoming a full time house husband, watching and shaping his two fantastic children as they progress in life. Married to a beautiful wife, he likes nothing more than days out with her and the children. On the odd occasion that free time presents itself, he likes playing field hockey, taking computers apart (sometimes putting them back together again, occasionally successfully) and of course writing. Paul has spent over a year working as a teaching assistant in a wonderful school, a job he enjoys more than any he has ever had.


♦ Book Reviews ♦

Amazon: Book One, 12 customer reviews, 4.3/5 ~ Book Two is not available on Amazon


Goodreads: Book One, 55 Ratings - 9 Reviews, 4.67/5 ~ Book 2 has no reviews yet 0.0/5


(Author info, Book info, Affiliate links)

♥ Book One is available at these fine retailers: Amazon ~ Book Depository ~ AbeBooks ~ Books A Million

♥ You can connect with Paul Cude on the Bentwhistle Facebook Page or follow Paul on Twitter

♥ For more info on the author and his books please check out: The Bentwhistle website or Paul's blog


♥ See my Wacky Interview with Paul Cude.

(About Indie Spotlights)


Friday, February 21, 2014

Fun Fridays 6 ~ Set Your Imagination Free!

Mulluane | Friday, February 21, 2014 | 2 Comments so far


Well it is Friday again so time for another goofy post. Was a busy week. Announced a new feature, put up an Indie Spotlight, a Wacky Interview and a Could Not Finish ARC review. Can't remember the last time I posted every day. Next week is looking to be busy also so stay tuned!

But enough about my week, lets get to the fun part!

The Premise


One thing that all Fantasy and Science Fiction readers and bloggers share is a vivid imagination and a great sense of fun.

So, on Fridays, I am going to put forth a scenario and ask a question. Just for fun and hopefully we can, share a few giggles, chuckles and maybe even a guffaw or two.

Give the scenario some thought then leave your answer in the comments! Be inventive, indulge your imagination, show off your sense of humor and maybe, just maybe, meet a few new people.

Of course serious answers count too. While my main goal is to have some fun and silliness, I realize that some questions may strike a completely different chord with the reader. Don't let that stop you from commenting! The other thing us SFF fans are good at is serious discussion.

So without further delay, here is the question!

I have always loved the idea of reincarnation. The possibilities intrigue me. Do bad things in this life? Get reborn as a slug in your next. Do good things? Get reborn as a millionare!


So if reincarnation is possible, what would you like to be reincarnated as?


Spoiled House Cat

My Answer:

This is an easy one. I've always said I wanted to come back as a spoiled rotten house cat... just like my two.

But, if an animal is not possible I'm not greedy. I want to be reborn as just about anybody living above the poverty level. A marine biologist would be good. Or an archaeologist maybe. Always thought it would be awesome to discover a new dinosaur or find Atlantis.

So what would you like to be?


Don't like this question? Look here "Fun Fridays" and see if there is one you do like! Comments are always welcome, even on older posts.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Barrow

Mulluane | Thursday, February 20, 2014 | 18 Comments so far

by Mark Smylie



When a small crew of scoundrels, would-be heroes, deviants, and ruffians discover a map that they believe will lead them to a fabled sword buried in the barrow of a long-dead wizard, they think they've struck it rich. But their hopes are dashed when the map turns out to be cursed and then is destroyed in a magical ritual. The loss of the map leaves them dreaming of what might have been, until they rediscover the map in a most unusual and unexpected place.

Stjepan Black-Heart, suspected murderer and renegade royal cartographer; Erim, a young woman masquerading as a man; Gilgwyr, brothel owner extraordinaire; Leigh, an exiled magus under an ignominious cloud; Godewyn Red-Hand, mercenary and troublemaker; Arduin Orwain, scion of a noble family brought low by scandal; and Arduin's sister Annwyn, the beautiful cause of that scandal: together they form a cross-section of the Middle Kingdoms of the Known World, brought together by accident and dark design, on a quest that will either get them all in the history books, or get them all killed.
*Blurb source*Pyr
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The Barrow by Mark Smylie

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Heroes, Dark, Adult
| ISBN-10: 1616148918
| ISBN-13: 9781616148911
| Publisher: Pyr (March 4, 2014)
| Paperback: 700 pages
| Cover Artist: Gene Mollica
| Source: Publisher
| Rating: 1/5 Stars
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
The Barrow



♥ Mini Review ♥
Well, it had to happen sometime I guess. I have finally met my match. An Epic Fantasy I just could not finish, no matter how hard I tried. I got through about half of it and hit a wall where I just couldn't force myself pick it back up. I finally admitted defeat and set it back on my shelf.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Interview - Andrew J. Peters - Author of The Seventh Pleiade

Mulluane | Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | Be the first to comment!

(Wacky Interview Series)


In case you missed the first interviews in this series, here is the deal...I read alot of author interviews and they are good, informative, and interesting but rarely tell me all that much about an author's personality. I often find myself thinking, "Well that's all good and everything but I want to know more about the real live person behind the book!"

So, I decided to conduct a "fun" interview; something that will give my readers a good laugh and be fun for the authors. You will not find serious questions covering books, publishing, writing or future plans. Instead you will get a chance to see how they react to a bunch of crazy questions and scenarios.


This time around I asked Andrew J. Peters, author of The Seventh Pleiade, if he would consent to do one of these. Happily, he agreed!


He came up with some great answers so here for your reading pleasure is a look inside of the mind of Andrew J. Peters...



Andrew J. Peters - Author of The Seventh Pleiade


1) Who is your favorite comedian or cartoon character and why?
I love cartoons so I have a bunch of favorites. When I was young, they used to run the original Woody Woodpecker, from the 1940s, on TV after school. They were really quite out there, and I remember my brother and I would laugh hysterically and imitate Woody, which drove our parents nuts.

More recently, I used to watch the Comedy Central series Drawn Together, and I had a fond spot for Xandir, who is this elfin RPG caricature who is not so secretly gay. I liked that character because while Xandir gets a pretty brutal lampooning, as all the series’ characters do, I didn’t find it to be mean-spirited. Xandir’s friends actually want him to be more accepting of himself, so the storylines went beyond the usual making fun of a gay guy’s mannerisms. I think that’s rare for gay cartoon characters.

2) How would you describe your sense of humor?
Dry. Sarcastic. Absurd. All three at once if I’m having a really good day. It’s hard for me to sit through a meeting at work without trying to break the ice by cracking a joke. I’m happiest around people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

3) What did you want to be when you grew up?
My earliest ambition was to be a waiter. This was troubling to my mother. She used to drop hints to me all the time: “Are you sure that’s what you want to be?” It was a weird fascination of mine. I had this misguided idea that it was a very glamorous career. I used to practice putting out place settings, and I was always the first to volunteer to clear the table after dinner.

I was always writing, even when I was very little, but my next ambition was to be a veterinarian. That was something my parents could get behind. But I had a marginal aptitude for science and math. I just wanted to get straight to saving orphaned kittens and puppies. In college, I changed my major to psychology, and I became a social worker.

4) Which magical power would you like to have and why?
Invisibility has always held a certain perverted fascination for me. Especially when I was a closeted teenager and checking out the guys in the locker room carried the risk of social and physical annihilation.

I’d also be happy with being able to fly. I hate being stuck in traffic and having to take the subway.

5) If aliens landed in your backyard, what is the first thing you would ask them?
That’s pretty frightening. I’d be tempted to tell them to get the hell away, but I’d probably try a more ingratiating approach and ask them if they’d like to come in for a drink. A little snack perhaps?

6) What would you do if you had a time machine?
I think I would be afraid to use it. Maybe I’ve watched too many sci-fi movies and Twilight Zone episodes, but I carry the fear that changing one little thing in the past will set off a chain of events that could obliterate the existence of mankind.

7) If you had a chance to spend some time with one mythical being, what would it be and why?
There’s a lot to choose from there, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Cheshire Cat. I love cats, and a talking cat would be really cool. He seems like he would be a good conversationalist.

8) If you could be reincarnated as an animal, what would you be and why?
I think a big cat, like a tiger, or a lion. Life has got to be easier at the top of the food chain.

9.) What quirky habit do you have that often gets you teased by your peers or family?
Since I moved to New York City, twenty years ago now, people take notice of my rather odd choice of words sometimes. Maybe they noticed it back in upstate New York, and they were just being polite. But somehow words like “peckish” and “ubiquitous” roll out of me in casual conversation. I’ve also been known to exclaim: “Holy Toledo” when shocked or surprised.

10.) My readers want to know what you had for breakfast. Not sure why exactly...
Coffee and a bowl of spoon-size shredded wheat.

11.) Why in the world did you consent to doing this wacky interview? I mean there is not one question here about your books, your writing or your future plans!
Authors will do anything for publicity. Did I mention I’m an author and I have books for sale? 

Thanks to Andrew J. Peters for consenting to do this interview!


(Author info, Book info, Affiliate links)

♥ Be sure to look for 
Andrew J. Peters' book: The Seventh Pleiade 

♥ Also available at these fine retailers: Amazon ~ Book Depository ~ AbeBooks ~ BAM

♥ For more info on the book, please check out my Spotlight Post

♥ You can also read his short fiction: Here

♥ Plus you can connect with 
Andrew J. Peters on his Facebook Page or on Twitter

♥ For more info on the author and his books 
check out: Andrew's website or Andrew's blog



And While You Are Here: 
 
Check Out More Wacky Author Interviews!

~ or ~

Check Out The Wacky Reader Interviews!



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Indie Spotlight: The Seventh Pleiade by Andrew J. Peters

Mulluane | Tuesday, February 18, 2014 | Be the first to comment!


♥ Young Adult Fantasy Showcase ♥


The Seventh Pleiade by Andrew J. Peters

| Genre: Fantasy LGBT, Young Adult 14+
| Content: Coming of Age, Mythology
| ISBN-10: 1602829608
| ISBN-13: 9781602829602
| Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 19, 2013)
| Paperback: 264 pages
| Cover Artist: Sheri @ Graphicartist2020[at]hotmail[dot]com

♦ Blurb ♦

Atlantis is besieged by violent storms, tremors, and a barbarian army. For sixteen-year old Aerander, it is a calamitous backdrop to his Panegyris, where boys are feted for their passage to manhood.

Amid a secret web of romances among the celebrants, Aerander's cousin Dam goes missing with two boys. With the kingdom in crisis, no one suspects the High Priest Zazamoukh though Aerander uncovers a conspiracy to barter boys for dark spiritual power. Aerander's proof -- an underground vault that disappears in the morning -- brings shame on his family and suspicions of lunacy. The only way to regain his honor is to prove what really happened to the missing boys.

Tracking Dam leads Aerander on a terrifying and fantastical journey. He spots a star that hasn't been seen for centuries. He uncovers a legend about an ancient race of men who hid below the earth. And traveling to an underground world, he learns about matters even more urgent than the missing boys. The world aboveground is changing, and he will have to clear a path for the kingdom's survival.



It all started when Dam went missing. Not the tempests, or the mutiny, or the ragtag militia sniping at the borders of the kingdom from the frozen mammoth steppe. These things happened, but to Aerander, who was sixteen years old, the world had become a spectacle of horrifying and exhilarating events, lacking reason or connection, for the most part. He tried to mind what was immediately apparent, and before Dam disappeared that was he was entering the Boys’ Panegyris, however bleakly it coincided with the troubles of the day. Every Atlantide principality had sent young men to the island capital for the quadrennial festival. The families of the Ten Royal Houses were quartered at his father’s palace for eight days of athletic contests and feasts. Aerander had a duty to show well for his family and help restore the kingdom to a normal routine.

Then his stepmother Thessala came by his room on the morning of the opening day of the festival.

“There’s news,” she said. “Two boys went missing from the palace last night. Kosmos and Leonitos.”

Few had done it, but boys talked about breaking curfew to run off into town every day. The pre-festival weeks were their last chance for fun and freedom. Afterward, there were bartered marriages and politicking for their fathers.

“There’s a third boy missing,” Thessala said. “Dam. There’s word the three of them were together last night. Do you know anything about it?”

“Why would I know anything?”

“Dam was your best friend.”

His gaze wandered to the city. Four flights above the mounted Citadel, his balcony gave view to a gray labyrinth of canals, boulevards and alleys, and parapet fortifications that encircled the city in great stone-masoned flanks. In the center of town, the weathered dome of the Temple of Poseidon rose above the terra-cotta roofs like a giant, blackened scalp.

“Was,” Aerander said. “Dam and I haven’t talked in ages.” He had grown up with Dam in the palace. They were more than friends, actually; they were kin, though the relation was difficult to understand. Dam’s father was a third or fourth cousin of Aerander’s or their two fathers were related through the marriage of a great-aunt. Thessala had explained it once; Aerander forgot. Dam’s parents had died before he could remember, so it was all kind of confusing and didn’t really matter anyway. Dam left the palace at thirteen to become a priest.

Thessala drew up beside him by the balcony ledge. Though just out of bed, she still smelled of fennel oil, which she used to wash her hair each evening. “It was stupid, but I had the most horrible idea when Myron told me,” she said. “I felt certain for a moment you’d gone with them.”


“That was stupid.”

Thessala’s eyes followed his. “The city is a dangerous place.” Her hand closed lightly on his arm. “You must promise me and your father you would never do anything like that.”

“Why didn’t he tell me about Dam?”

“He was out of the house before sunrise, gathering his courtiers. He wanted to deliver, personally, a salver of fish to House Eudemon. If there was to be any question of the security of the Citadel, you know Governor Eulian would be the first to raise it. Now two of his nephews are missing. The sentinels are searching the palace grounds, and they’re embarking on a street-by-street search of the city.”

On the balcony ledge, there was a bronze monocular that Aerander liked to use for stargazing. An impulse hit him: pick it up and scan the city for Dam. But he quashed the idea as idiotic. There had to be an easy explanation, late-night hijinks gone mildly wrong. But it looked bad, Dam being associated with his family, and it would look even worse if certain other things came out. He had to catch up with Calyiches.

“Sorry to get Opening Day off to a sour start.”

Aerander headed to his bedchamber. “I ought to get dressed.”

Thessala followed him. “You—rushing to your dressing? Has the festival changed you already? What is it they say—boys go in, they come out men?”

“There’s nothing particularly manly about sitting for a bath and getting fitted with a cape and shoulder clasp.” He looked to his attendant, Punamun, newly appointed for his Panegyris, a Lemurian slave. He was hunched drowsily at his gypsum bench. Aerander’s eyebrows shot up, and he clapped his hands. The young man’s bowl-shaped head of hair jostled. He stood and ambled about the room collecting the strigil and the drying cloths for the bath.

Thessala hung back by the archway to the balcony with a smirk.

“Still, you used to like to dawdle.”

“I want to get an early start.”

“Is it Calyiches?”

“Haven’t I a right to privacy? You’re always pulling at me like a knot of yarn.” Thessala ventured farther into the room. “It’s hardly private that he gave you his house ring.” Her gaze was narrowed on the House of Mneseus signet band on Aerander’s finger.

“So, what of it?” He watched Punamun tottering about the place with nothing to show for it. A strange fellow. Had he forgotten already where he kept his bathing cloak?

Thessala went on. “Boyhood lovers—I think it’s quite romantic. He’s very handsome. And popular. But you’d be wise to keep it from your father. Your family still has its prejudices.”

Thessala liked to say your family when there was something she didn’t agree with, though her ancestry was a mix of House Atlas and House Mneseus by intermarriage. Aerander knew what prejudices she meant, and his stomach twinged. Boys who romanced other boys didn’t produce sons. House Atlas had a hard enough time raising heirs due to a blight of stillbirths that went back many generations. They called it the family curse. Aerander had been well aware of his responsibility to marry and continue the family legacy. Then Calyiches had come along.

Thessala stepped near with a look of being instructive. “House Mneseus is fond of their boyhood traditions,” she said. “Being a favorite of their governor’s son could be an excellent way to win your father allies on the Council.”

Aerander wondered what was she talking about. His relationship with Calyiches had nothing to do with politics. He would have corrected her, but there wasn’t time. He had to find Calyiches before he spoke to anybody else. He pointed Punamun to the hutch where he kept his bathing clothes, and he pointed Thessala to the door.

“Good cheer,” she called over her shoulder. “And don’t forget to let them cut your hair for temple.”



*Excerpt Source* Author
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♦ Author's Bio ♦

Andrew J. Peters likes retold stories with a subversive twist. He is the author of The Seventh Pleiade, about the legend of Atlantis, and the Werecat series. A former Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow, Andrew has written short fiction for many publications. He lives in New York City with his husband and their cat Chloë.

♦ Reviews ♦

“A gay Atlantean prince combats gossip, a creepy priest and throngs of serpents in an attempt to deliver his ill-fated city from annihilation…Varied, vivid landscapes will entice discerning fantasy readers, and beefy vocabulary keeps the narrative hearty. A marriage of equality among fantasy, mythology, action and same-sex romance. (Fantasy. 14 & up)” ~ Kirkus Reviews, Recommended

“What makes this book different is the quality of the prose and the character of Aerander. I found myself not wanting to stop reading and marked this author as one to follow.” ~ Reviews by Amos Lassen

(Author info, Book info, Affiliate links)

♥ Available at these fine retailers: Amazon ~ Kindle ~ Book Depository ~ AbeBooks ~ BAM ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indiebound

♥ You can also read Andrew J. Peters' short fiction: Here

♥ Plus you can connect with 
Andrew J. Peters on his Facebook Page or on Twitter

♥ For more info on the author and his books please 
check out: Andrew's website or Andrew's blog

See my Interview with Andrew J. Peters: Wacky Interview Series

(About Indie Spotlights)


Monday, February 17, 2014

New Feature ~ Indie Spotlights

Mulluane | Monday, February 17, 2014 | 8 Comments so far


New Feature! Spotlights and Interviews for Independent Authors of Traditional Fantasy,

Lately I have been getting a fair amount of requests to review books from POD, Small Press and independent authors.

Unfortunately it has always been my policy to only review books that were published by companies on SFWA's approved publisher list.

Granted, there have been rare exceptions. Actually I can only think of two and in both cases I accepted because I was provided with an entire series and the reviews I had seen were very positive. (I'm also a big old softy.)


The reality is that I already have the normal huge TBR pile that is the bane of every book review blogger. I just don't have the time to read self-published books too.

But....

What I can do is a promotion post and maybe an interview. These posts will not be an endorsement of the book (since I have no intention of reading it.) They will simply be a "Hey look! Check this out!" type thing.

This way I can occasionally say yes instead of feeling horrible for always saying no and all without tying up my reading schedule. Win/Win!

So, if you are an independent author, write traditional fantasy (follow link or see my definition in the comments) and want to request a shoutout post and/or Wacky Interview, shoot me a message. Just go to the bottom of my about page and pick whatever method you are comfortable using. Or you can use the contact form on DHW. 

As always, I reserve the right to refuse or ignore any requests I decide do not qualify for whatever reason. 

I have no idea at this point how often this feature will appear. Will totally depend on how often I get requests that qualify, but irregardless I will only do one spotlight and one interview per week.

So, thoughts anyone? Good idea? Bad idea? Comments as always are welcome!





Friday, February 14, 2014

Fun Fridays 5 ~ Let Your Imaginations Soar!

Mulluane | Friday, February 14, 2014 | 13 Comments so far
Well it is Friday again so time for another silly post. I did get a review up this week and a bunch of old posts on Dragons got color coded to match the new color scheme. The back to back storms have played havoc with my internet connection and TV satellite dish but against all odds I never lost power for more than a few seconds. Still my internet dropping cut down on my productivity. Ready for winter to be over!

The good news is that I have a bunch of posts planned for next week including a Wacky Author Interview! I have decided that while I do not have the time to start reviewing Indie books, I will be doing some interviews and shoutouts instead.

But enough about me, lets get to the fun part!

The Premise

One thing that all Fantasy and Science Fiction readers and bloggers share is a vivid imagination and a great sense of fun. 

So, on Fridays, I am going to put forth a scenario and ask a question. Just for fun and hopefully we can, share a few giggles, chuckles and maybe even a guffaw or two.

Give the scenario some thought then leave your answer in the comments! Be inventive, indulge your imagination, show off your sense of humor and maybe, just maybe, meet a few new people.

Of course serious answers count too. While my main goal is to have some fun and silliness, I realize that some questions may strike a completely different chord with the reader. Don't let that stop you from commenting! The other thing us SFF fans are good at is serious discussion. 

So without further delay, here is the question!


You have embarked on a trip to Mars. What three things would you take with you in case you crash and end up marooned?



My Answer:

This is a hard one. I am going to assume my spaceship already has the basics; food, water, oxygen, spacesuit...

So, what outside of the basics then.

1) A really good book of course. An omnibus edition of something I wouldn't mind reading over and over again.

2) A big cross stitch project. Since it has to be considered a single item, it will need to be a prepackaged kit.

3) A cabana boy. OK, I know that isn't a thing but since I have the domestic skills of a gnat I need somebody to cook, clean up, thread my needle, provide eye candy....

So what would you take?

Don't like this question? Look here "Fun Fridays" and see if there is one you do like! Comments are always welcome, even on older posts.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Fun Friday's 4 ~ Let Your Imagination Come Out To Play!

Mulluane | Friday, February 07, 2014 | 8 Comments so far
Well it is Friday and time once again do a post that serves absolutely no purpose except to have a little fun. I haven't accomplished much this week. Did a redesign of Dragons, Heroes and Wizards. (again) Finished "The Fall of Kings." Review will be up Monday. Struggled with another book that I wanted to like but have some issues with. And I started a third book that I'm totally in love with so far. 

But none of that resulted in a post so this will have to do...


The Premise
>
One thing that all Fantasy and Science Fiction readers and bloggers share is a vivid imagination and a great sense of fun. 

So, on Fridays, I am going to put forth a scenario and ask a question. Just for fun and hopefully we can, share a few giggles, chuckles and maybe even a guffaw or two.

Give the scenario some thought then leave your answer in the comments! Be inventive, indulge your imagination, show off your sense of humor and maybe, just maybe, meet a few new people.

Of course serious answers count too. While my main goal is to have some fun and silliness, I realize that some questions may strike a completely different chord with the reader. Don't let that stop you from commenting! The other thing us SFF fans are good at is serious discussion. 

So without further delay, here is the question!


If you could be one mythical being, what would you be? 

Selkie, Unicorn, Dragon, Mermaid, Pegasus, Faun, Centaur, Fairy, Genie, Other?



My Answer:

This is a hard one even for me and it is my question. I think my favorite mythical creature of all time is Draco. (Dragonheart/Sean Connery) I LOVE that dragon! I think I'd like to be a female version of him, only without the dying part. Or better yet, his devoted mate (again without the dying part, lets just replace that with happily ever after shall we?)

So what about you? Doesn't have to be a well known character like mine (unless you want), can be anything you can imagine yourself as. The wand is in your court! Wave it over the comment section and tell us your preference!

Don't like this question? Look here "Fun Fridays" and see if there is one you do like! Comments are always welcome, even on older posts.


Monday, February 3, 2014

The Magic Book Bag: Fantasy Book Haul For February 03 2014

Mulluane | Monday, February 03, 2014 | 5 Comments so far

No, you read that right I have a magic book bag! It is a wondrous thing granted to me by a grateful dragon after I removed a splinter the size of a small tree from his foot. Now ever so often books will magically appear from within its depths. I never know what I'll get but no matter what, it is a glorious thing!

A few weeks ago, a book from Pyr appeared within this magical bag. Much to my delight it was a stand alone volume of dark epicness I am currently reading for review here in the Belfry.

Here are the details:


The Barrow

Mark Smylie

700 pp • ISBN 978-1-61614-891-1
Paperback • $18.00
March 2014
Cover Illustration © Gene Mollica

Action, horror, politics, and sensuality combine in this DEBUT EPIC FANTASY novel for fans of George R. R. Martin and Michael J. Sullivan, set in the world of the Eisner-nominated Artesia comic books.

The Burrow by Mark SmylieWhen a small crew of scoundrels, would-be heroes, deviants, and ruffians discover a map that they believe will lead them to a fabled sword buried in the barrow of a long-dead wizard, they think they've struck it rich. But their hopes are dashed when the map turns out to be cursed and then is destroyed in a magical ritual. The loss of the map leaves them dreaming of what might have been, until they rediscover the map in a most unusual and unexpected place.

Stjepan Black-Heart, suspected murderer and renegade royal cartographer; Erim, a young woman masquerading as a man; Gilgwyr, brothel owner extraordinaire; Leigh, an exiled magus under an ignominious cloud; Godewyn Red-Hand, mercenary and troublemaker; Arduin Orwain, scion of a noble family brought low by scandal; and Arduin's sister Annwyn, the beautiful cause of that scandal: together they form a cross-section of the Middle Kingdoms of the Known World, brought together by accident and dark design, on a quest that will either get them all in the history books, or get them all killed.


Oh but it gets better! Friday I noticed the Magic Book Bag looking a bit full. Peering into its depths, fully expecting to find my cat, I discovered this amazing array of books instead!

Book Collage


Stupendous! This lot were all titles from wonderful people at Harper Voyager. One of them was even signed! I have no idea how they got into my book bag but I suspect they must have elves or gremlins on their staff. Not one to question good fortune I'll just run down the list for you.



The Wasteland Saga by Nick Cole

The Wasteland Saga by Nick ColeForty years after a devastating thermonuclear Armageddon, mankind has been reduced to salvaging the ruins of a broken world. In a style that's part Hemingway and part Cormac McCarthy's The Road, The Wasteland Saga chronicles the struggle of the Old Man, his granddaughter, and a mysterious boy as they try to survive the savage lands of this new American Dark Age.

With the words of the Old Man's most prized possession—a copy of Hemingway's classic The Old Man and the Sea—echoing across the wasteland, they journey into the unknown through three incredible tales of endurance and adventure in a land ravaged by destruction.




Dead Set by Richard Kadrey

Dead Set by Richard KadreyAfter her father's funeral, Zoe moved to the big city with her mother to start over. But change always brings trials, and life in the city is not so easy. Money is tight, and Zoe's only escape, as has always been the case, is in her dreams—a world apart from her troubled real life where she can spend time with her closest companion: her lost brother, Valentine.

But something or someone has entered their dreamworld uninvited. And a chance encounter at a used record store, where the vinyl holds not music but lost souls, has opened up a portal to the world of the restless dead. It's here that the shop's strange proprietor offers Zoe the chance to commune with her dead father. The price? A lock of hair. Then a tooth. Then . . .





The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

The Taken by Vicki Pettersson
Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he's an angel, but that doesn't make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he's been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine "Kit" Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.

Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder—and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie.

Joining forces, Kit and Grif's search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn't Grif's biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife . . .




Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill

Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill There is another world than our own—one no closer than a kiss and one no further than our nightmares—where all the stuff of which dreams are made is real and magic is just a step away. But once you see that world, you will never be the same.

Dreams and Shadows takes us beyond this veil. Once bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, Ewan is now an Austin musician who just met his dream girl, and Colby, meanwhile, cannot escape the consequences of an innocent wish. But while Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom as children, it has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies argue metaphysics with foul-mouthed wizards, and monsters in the shadows feed on fear, you can never outrun your fate.




And last and my hands down favorite: (This entire series will be reviewed soon on Dragons, Heroes and Wizards. )



Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb

Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
Centuries had passed since dragons last roamed the war-torn world of the Rain Wild River. But as peace once again settled upon the land, a lost generation of sea serpents—ancient, half-starved, and weary—returned to cocoon, certain that they would be reborn as the beautiful and powerful dragons of legend. But their arduous journey exacted a heavy toll, and the proud serpents emerged as sickly, half-formed beasts, unable to fly or hunt . . . or thrive. For years now they have been trapped on a swampy riverbank between forest and river, hungry and barely alive, reliant on humans to provide for them.

With their survival at stake, fifteen dragons—among them the wise golden Mercor, the haughty and dazzling silver-blue queen Sintara, and the delicate copper beauty Relpda—have set off on a dangerous trek into the unknown, up the Rain Wild River, in hopes of rediscovering the ancient Elderling city of Kelsingra, the lost haven for dragons and Elderlings alike. The dragons are accompanied by a disparate group of human keepers, rejects from Rain Wild society. They, too, yearn to find Kelsingra and create a home of their own, one in which they may make their own rules and decide their own fate. But is Kelsingra real or merely a fragment of a glorified past buried deep in the dragons' shared memories? No map exists to guide them, and the noble creatures find their ancient recollections of little use in a land changed by generations of flooding and seismic chaos.

As the dragons, the humans—including the strong and defiant Rain Wild girl Thymara; the wealthy dragon scholar and Trader's wife, Alise; and her companion, the urbane Sedric—and their magical supply barge, captained by the gruff Leftrin, forge their way ever deeper into uncharted wilderness, human and beast alike discover they are changing in mysterious and dangerous ways. While the bonds between them solidify, starvation, flashfloods, and predators will imperil them all. But dragons and humans soon learn that the most savage threats come from within their own company . . . and not all of them may survive.


What an awesome haul!

But now I need your help. Magic Book Bags are marvelous things but not too good at mind reading. As a result there are 4 books here that fall well outside my normal reading fare. But I am willing to take a chance and try one or more of these fine examples of Urban, Paranormal, Contemporary and Dystopian fantasy. 

So what do you suggest for a traditional fantasy reader? I am leaning towards giving Dreams and Shadows a try but I'm not sure. What do you recommend? Any? All? Help!



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