🏰 The Shadow Crucible: The Blind God Book Blast!

Friday, March 31, 2017

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Book Bloggin' Princess is tickled pink to invite you to Tamara Lakomy's THE SHADOW CRUCIBLE: THE BLIND GOD Book Blast! Please leave a comment to let Tamara know you stopped by or share this page through your social networks!
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Title: THE SHADOW CRUCIBLE: THE BLIND GOD
Author: T.M. Lakomy
Publisher: Select Books
Pages: 400
Genre: Dark Fantasy

In a world where angels, demons, and gods fight over the possession of mortal souls, two conflicted pawns are ensnared in a cruel game. The enigmatic seer Estella finds herself thrown together with Count Mikhail, a dogmatic Templar dedicated to subjugating her kind. But when a corrupted cardinal and puppet king begin a systematic genocide of her people, the two become unlikely allies.
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All organized religions are shops orchestrated to consume mankind. Every deity, religion, and spiritual guide has been corrupted, and each claims to have the monopoly on truth and salvation.

In a perilous game where the truth is distorted and meddling ancient deities converge to partake of the unseen battle, Estella unwittingly finds herself hunted by Lucifer. Traversing the edge of hell’s precipice, Estella and Mikhail are reduced to mere instruments. Their only means to overcome is through courting the Threefold Death, the ancient ritual of apotheosis—of man becoming God.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Book Excerpt:

He seethed with indignation as he confronted his reflection. Rasping with rage and flexing his fingers impotently, he took in his bruised and broken face. This mirror was the only vanity he was allowed, and now it only offered him the stark knowledge of his ugliness and weakness. Livid, he smote the mirror with his fist. It shattered as he let out an incensed cry, the fragments flying across the floor, glittering sharply in the dimming lights. He looked down at the collage of broken glass and paused, numb with anger.

The shards of the mirror glittered and vibrated, reflecting numerous eyes. Then they slowly began to levitate, all the tiny fragments splintered across the room gathering together and reforming. Swiftly they became whole again, and the mirror floated in the air eerily toward the cardinal. Within the reflection he no longer saw himself, but another being gazing back at him. Lost for breath, he gaped in bewilderment, unable to form words. The being had the fairest of all faces. Beautiful, with an aura of inexorable grace, it had resplendent, shimmering wings—pair upon pair of them in varied iridescent hues. The countenance observed him with a soft smile, measuring him with his intoxicating, lucent blue eyes. “Do you know who I am, old man?” the mirror asked him blithely. The cardinal was immediately enraptured, but could feel the cross burning on his neck. “Take it off and it will not sear your skin,” the angel remarked mildly, his limpid blue eyes gazing lovingly upon the cardinal. The cardinal, like a man too deeply drunken to think, brought his hand to his neck and ripped the cross thoughtlessly off and cast it away. “That is better now, isn’t it? Always bearing the cross. Well, he carried his cross and now he wants the whole world to carry it with him . . . how truly selfish.” The voice, though laced with reproach, was heartrendingly sweet and full of understanding and promise. It rang like silver bells. The cardinal’s mouth hung open indecorously, and he found himself nodding his head in agreement with the angel’s words as his fear began to dissipate. “I do not want you to carry this cross, this heavy burden of debt,” the angel continued. “This false salvation you were peddled is a lie. I, on the contrary, want you to be free, liberated from your thralldom. The earth is your inheritance to rule over as a god, like you were promised. And yet they have deprived you of your freedom. My heart grieves for you,” the angel sympathized, his voice laden with unquenchable sorrow. As the angel spoke, the mirror began to ripple like molten silver, and he emerged from it, as though pushing through a translucent shroud. Robed in white flowing garments, he grasped a long spear in his left hand pointing it downwards, the bitter tip glistening coldly. Standing before the cardinal revealed in his full glory, he smiled fully—but the warmth never reached his detached, frosted gaze. “I want to liberate you from your thralldom,” he said. “I have watched over you all, my tender flock. I am Lucifer, the morning star, the first to greet you with my love into this life, and the last to claim you on my dark stallion of death. I have come to free you.” His persuasive voice was soothing and nurturing, like a gentle river rippling mildly over soft bedrock. The cardinal found himself in a daze of awe, and within him woke his longing for power and lust for dominion. “Come to me, let me free you, and we shall destroy the Twilit world that has robbed you of the gifts that you so deserved.” The fatherly voice of the angel was indignant yet gentle, and he beamed at the cardinal who nodded back eagerly. “Let me into your heart, then. Lead me into your house, in this false edifice erected in the name of God, and let us together find the lost sheep in the house of God. I am his true son, after all, prince of the world.” He glided towards the cardinal, his numerous nacre wings extending into the chamber. They shed their own pearly light, and it seemed he floated like a silver vision. The angel knelt beside the cardinal, gazing into his watery eyes. “Let me into his house.” The voice was slightly more pressing now. The cardinal, dazed, nodded in agreement. With a satisfied smile, the angel touched the cardinal’s chest with a slender finger, right at his heart, and breathed over him. The cardinal groaned, falling instantly asleep. The angel then shifted like a blurring image, colors melting and running, twisting like molten glass into a murky mess of shadow and dirt-colored fumes. The gleaming wings fell to the ground, losing their feathers and rotting instantly. Now instead of the radiant angel, there stood a hooded and cloaked figure, emanating death. Like a black hole, it sucked in all the light around him, exerting a fearsome pull. The light from the candles swirled and were drawn into him, as though he were a gasping sinkhole.

The lights that weren’t drowned out flared in his presence, then guttered as he walked towards the discarded cross lying dully on the ground. With his foot he trampled it into the ground. Then the lights went out and laughter resounded. It echoed through the abbey walls, shaking it to its foundations until all the lights within went out, and all the icons fell to the ground, dashed down by something far more sinister than the raging gale outside.

About the Author


Tamara Lakomy is British born but grew up in North Africa during troubled times. She resides in London.

She studied archaeology and became enamoured with the shamanistic practices of indigenous people.

She is an author and poet who seeks to challenge our notions of reality, and see life with a different perspective.

She works in East Africa with indigenous tribes studying the origins of mankind and the salient golden thread in the tapestry of humanity's beliefs.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

🏰 AUTHOR INTERVIEW: 'Starting Over on Blackberry Lane' Sheila Roberts

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Bestselling author Sheila Roberts has seen her books translated into over a dozen languages. Her novels ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS and THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS were made into movies for the Lifetime and Hallmark channels. When she’s not hanging out with her girlfriends or dancing with her husband she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS


About the Book:

Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can't seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his "projects." If he doesn't smarten up, she swears she's going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.  

Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.  

She's not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest—with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it's time to do something. When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man. (Cass's friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!) Now it's time to make some improvements…in their houses and their lives.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon


As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?


Sometimes a book is triggered by a specific image or thought, something I’ve read. Not so this time. I wish I could say something specific inspired it but I can’t. It seems each story line simply dropped into my head.


Can you tell us what your book is about?


STARTING OVER ON BLACKBERRY LANE is about, well, starting over – with relationships, with careers, with projects that have gone awry. As the saying goes, life is about change. I look back on decisions I’ve made in life or things I’ve said and wish I could start over. And then I remind myself, I can. It’s never too late to begin again, never too late to find love. Sometimes, it’s not even too late to say, “I’m sorry.”


Fiction Authors: Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?


I have three different women featured in this story – Griffin James, who must decide if she’s going to go for it and follow that career dream, Stefanie Stahl, whose husband has renovation A.D.D. and whose house is a disaster area, and Cass Wilkes, who’s facing another birthday – still single and stalled out. Enter Grant Masters, handyman, who’s going to impact each woman’s life in a different way. I had a lot of fun writing this book and I’m hoping readers will find it both entertaining and encouraging.



If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?


Settle in on what you want to write. Early in my career I was all over the map, writing everything from Regency Romances to mysteries. (The mystery thing – yikes! I rewrote that book seven different times, each time with a different villain. After that I decided mysteries were not my forte.)


What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?


Well, this is sad. I don’t have one. Remember the movie THROW MAMA FROM THE TRAIN, all the goofy things Billy Crystal did when he was trying to get inspired? The tape on the nose cracked me up. But here in Sheila Land it is dull, dull, dull. I’m just sitting there at the computer, typing away. No one will ever make a movie about my creative process.


Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?


I love when I hear from readers. It does my heart good when a reader tells me she was going through a hard time and my book helped her get through it. Because, honestly, sometimes I think, I’m just telling a story. Isn’t there something more worthwhile I could be doing with my time? Of course, readers also tell me when they’re not happy. One reader gave me a verbal spanking for letting my character swear. I’m sure my mom was up in heaven, nodding and saying, “I told you so.” My characters are, for the most part, better behaved now.


What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?


“You’re dating yourself.” A friend told me this after I’d used a term she said she hadn’t heard since her grandmother said it. Yikes! I just thought I was being clever and using a unique word. That was painful because even though my hair is now gray – thank you chemo! – in my mind I’m still thirty and a babe. Hahahahah.


What has been the best accomplishment?


So far the biggest highlights of my writing career have been seeing two of my books get made into movies. ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a movie for the LIFETIME CHANNEL and THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS was a HALLMARK movie. Very cool. But best accomplishment? Getting my children safely raised.


Do you Google yourself?


No way.


How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?


Probably about a half dozen. My first book never saw the light of day. I have other proposals and series ideas and a couple of finished books that still haven’t made the cut. But I’ll get those up and running eventually. Maybe I’ll even write that mystery one more time. J


Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?


Yes. Thank you! Thank you for choosing to spend your hard-earned money and your time with me. There are books galore out there to choose from and I’m honored when someone chooses one of mine.

🏰 FREE!!!! Buried by C.J. Carmichael

Monday, March 20, 2017
Buried
By C. J. Carmichael

In the coastal town of Twisted Cedars, Oregon, an ugly secret from the past has been festering for over thirty years when five librarians were targeted by a serial killer. Now an anonymous emailer wants true crime writer Dougal Lachlan to uncover and tell the story.  

Genre: Mysteries & Suspense; My Book Cave Picks  

Rating: Moderate for some profanity (6 to 40) and non-detailed fade-out sensuality; also contains mild crude humor, some substance use, passionate kissing, brief nudity, and some violence

Pick this book up while it's free!

Click to Purchase!

🏰 BOOK REVIEW: Relationship Maintenance 4 Men by Alba Lewis

Friday, March 10, 2017


Title: RELATIONSHIP MAINTENANCE 4 MEN
Author: Alba Lewis
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 57
Genre: Self-Help

Book Blurb:

A practical guide to support men who love their women with 21 tasks, one each week. 

Written a ‘just do’ guide and based on a survey conducted with over 100 women, the book aims to give actionable tasks that will create better relationships.

My Review:

Even though I'm a princess and not a prince and this book is intended for men, I requested a copy to get a peek inside to see if my prince was doing the right thing and if not I was going to use the helpful tips inside to show him the light.  Tricky, huh? Let me start off by saying that even though my prince treats me like royalty (no pun intended), I was sure that there was room for improvement.

Relationship Maintenance 4 Men is a crash course in relationships - literally. Lewis does an excellent job giving men pointers on how to please a woman. Part 1 is a survey.  It starts out with a question - What is the most romantic thing a man has done for you and the women in the survey gave quite interesting answers.  For example, one said he made her a lego mosaic of a picture of them when they first met. Here's one I loved - he drew a heart in the dirt at the hunt club and send her a picture /text of it. How romantic!!!

Part 2 was the course designed by women for me and explored the simple practical ways one can enhance a relationship with a woman. Week 1 you do this, week 2 you do that, and so on. Oh my heavenly father, if I could get my prince to follow this book and do each task a week, I would think I had died and gone to heaven.

This is such a fun book! A great gift for your mate. Better yet, get a girlfriend or a guyfriend to suggest he buy the book and don't let on that you know what's going on. 

I can't wait to try this out.  I just have to figure out a way for him to read it without letting on that it's more for me and not him!

I fully recommend Relationship Maintenance 4 Men by Alba Lewis and give it 5 magic wands!




🏰 AUTHOR INTERVIEW: 'Big & Fabulous: The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles' Randi Sherman

Thursday, March 9, 2017


Randi M Sherman is the award winning author of humorous fiction books.
With an eye for detail, an ear for well-tuned dialogue and an incredible grasp of the obvious, all honed while performing stand-up comedy in Los Angeles and improvisational theater in San Francisco, Sherman adds just enough bawdiness to deliver character-driven contemporary novels that will have the reader laughing, thinking and connecting with the characters in her books.

A native Californian, Randi makes her home in California's wine country. Trying her hand at country living Randi describes herself the Eva Gabor of the Sonoma/Napa area.

Randi earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Chapman University.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


About the Book:

Title: BIG & FABULOUS, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BRENDA CANKLES
Author: Randi Sherman
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 282
Genre: Humor Fiction

The time for BIG & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles is now! The emphasis is on positive body image, Big & Fabulous is a truly entertaining story that’s strongly written, funny, insightful and bitingly smart. Inside it’s covers, readers will find no shortage of acidly hilarious accounts of the highs and lows of living life inside a big and fabulous body.

Imperfect, impervious and improving Brenda Cankles is an unlikely heroine. Unfazed by the enduring censure of society, she is determined to realize the fabulous life that she has always believed is her destiny.

Brenda’s story – written in unflinching first person – is utterly unvarnished. Here, find a fantastically real person, sometimes struggling to fit in, but mostly giving the rest of the world the mother-lovin’ bird. From her clunky childhood, through her stumbling yet optimistic adolescence to her full figured and unapologetic emergence into adulthood. Brenda is a special brand of warrior. She is big, bold and beautiful. While the quirky cast of characters who surround her is eternally insistent that Brenda live her life in the background and fit into society’s mold, she will have none of it.

Author, Randi Sherman’s experience as a stand-up comedienne is evident as she delivers, BIG & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles, the hilarious, often laugh-out-loud novel about the inner most thoughts Brenda Cankles, a very real character who is confident and brave enough to expect the world to accept her on her terms.

BIG & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles is Sherman’s fifth novel, her fourth THE LOBBY has won 17 Awards for Humor and General Fiction.

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Hello and thank you for the questions.

When another book of mine, The Lobby, had just been released a friend  asked me what I was going to work on next. When I said that I had always wanted to write a book called, Yes, You Butt Does Look Big, she asked what I was waiting for. Although, I wasn’t sure what the book was going to be about, I started writing it that same day. You see, I let my books and characters evolve. I let them tell me what direction to take as they develop. During that process then title changed and Brenda Cankles came to life. Voila! Big & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles was created.

Can you tell us what your book is about?

Big & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles is about an unlikely heroine. Imperfect, impervious and improving, Brenda Cankles is unfazed by the enduring censure of society and is determined to realize the fabulous life that she has always believed is her destiny.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?

Brenda Cankles, the main character in Big & Fabulous is a plus size woman and her story is about living her life on her own terms not based on society’s reaction to her or fitting into a pre-determined stereotype. Brenda’s size is really a metaphor. She could have had any trait, physical, emotional, economical that society labels and judges. Brenda’s story is about a woman without any special powers, can overcome society’s censure using only her positive and healthy self-image. I wrote Brenda to be a new brand of warrior. She is a big, strong, bold and beautiful character. I fell in love with her.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

Never apologize for being a dreamer. Follow your dreams no matter what anyone thinks you should be doing. Be the most interesting person in the room.

What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

As I write it, I read dialogue aloud and act out movement to make sure that it flows and is realistic.

Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

Readers have contacted me to tell me that they either related to my characters or that they are the characters. There are hundreds of characters passing thru the lobby of an upscale hotel in my fourth novel, The Lobby. Family, friends, readers and strangers are convinced that one character or another is based on their lives or experiences. With my latest novel, Big & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles, readers and reviewers believe that Brenda Cankles is a real person.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

Criticism usually comes from people who don’t understand satire or enjoy the genre. Truthfully, warranted or not, criticism bothers me and it’s all tough.

What has been the best accomplishment?

Being brave enough to follow my dream is my biggest accomplishment. It’s very fulfilling. I feel like I can do anything.

Do you Google yourself?

I google myself all of the time. It’s almost a diagnosable condition. There is probably some help-group out there for it. I’m usually looking for reviews and press releases.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

It seems like I am always working on new stories and ideas. Some are more developed than others. I have a desk drawer filled with sticky notes, torn pieces of paper and notebooks and a computer file filled with chapters and ideas “in the works.” Right now I do have a few that are getting more attention than others. So the answer to your question about how many un-finished books I have: A drawer-ful.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

Sit back, relax and enjoy. I’ll drive.








🏰 AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Edward L. Rubin, author of The Heatstroke Line'







Edward Rubin is University Professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University.  He specializes in administrative law, constitutional law and legal theory. He is the author of Soul, Self and Society:  The New Morality and the Modern State (Oxford, 2015); Beyond Camelot:  Rethinking Politics and Law for the Modern State (Princeton, 2005) and two books with Malcolm Feeley, Federalism:  Political Identity and Tragic Compromise (Michigan, 2011) and Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State:  How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons (Cambridge, 1998).  In addition, he is the author of two casebooks, The Regulatory State (with Lisa Bressman and Kevin Stack) (2nd ed., 2013); The Payments System (with Robert Cooter) (West, 1990), three edited volumes (one forthcoming) and The Heatstroke Line (Sunbury, 2015) a science fiction novel about the fate of the United States if climate change is not brought under control. Professor Rubin joined Vanderbilt Law School as Dean and the first John Wade–Kent Syverud Professor of Law in July 2005, serving a four-year term that ended in June 2009. Previously, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1998 to 2005, and at the Berkeley School of Law from 1982 to 1998, where he served as an associate dean. Professor Rubin has been chair of the Association of American Law Schools' sections on Administrative Law and Socioeconomics and of its Committee on the Curriculum. He has served as a consultant to the People's Republic of China on administrative law and to the Russian Federation on payments law. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and his law degree from Yale.
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He has published four books, three edited volumes, two casebooks, and more than one hundred articles about various aspects of law and political theory. The Heatstroke Line is his first novel.

Website & Social Links:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK



About the Book:


Nothing has been done to prevent climate change, and the United States has spun into decline.   Storm surges have made coastal cities uninhabitable, blistering heat waves afflict the interior and, in
the South (below the Heatstroke Line), life is barely possible.  Under the stress of these events and an ensuing civil war, the nation has broken up into three smaller successor states and tens of tiny principalities.  When the flesh-eating bugs that inhabit the South show up in one of the successor states, Daniel Danten is assigned to venture below the Heatstroke Line and investigate the source of the invasion.  The bizarre and brutal people he encounters, and the disasters that they trigger, reveal the real horror climate change has inflicted on America.

BUYING INFORMATION:

Amazon | Sunbury Press  | Walmart | B&N



As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?


After hearing still another Republican leader claim that climate change is a hoax, I realized that these people allow themselves to be so shortsighted and irresponsible because they don't think this process will hurt the United States.  They believe -- despite everything that scientists are telling us -- that it will only affect places in the third world, places they don’t care about.   It occurred to me that a novel depicting how the U.S. might undergo a catastrophic decline if global warming isn't controlled might bring home the seriousness of the situation.  

As a life-long science fiction fan, I decided to set the novel in the future, a future where the Republican approach has led to environmental catastrophe, as it inevitably will if we allow it to continue.  But I also read a lot of serious literature and I wanted to write a book with real characters and realistic situations, not one of those sci-fi stories where stock figures sit around and explain the state of the world to each other. So I decided to concretize the general problem of global warming by imagining that it had led to the development of two-inch long flesh-eating insects.  This isn’t implausible, but the main point was to use these bugs as a reified symbol for all the catastrophic consequences that will result from uncontrolled climate change.  I was then able to create a main character who works as an entomologist and becomes involved in various efforts to control the bugs.



Can you tell us what your book is about?


The Heatstroke Line is a science fiction adventure story that envisions the future of the United States if we fail to take action to slow down global warming. When the action in the book begins, rising temperatures, extensive droughts and repeated storm surges on the coasts have produced so much economic and social disruption that the U.S. has broken up into small, warring principalities.  They are dominated by a more populous Canadian nation, one of the few beneficiaries of the uncontrolled global warming process.

While The Heatstroke Line belongs to the genre of post-apocalyptic science fiction, it is, as far as I know, the first such book to portray a negative future resulting from the actual threat that climate change creates, which is the increasing temperatures.  More significantly still, it differs from many other post-apocalyptic novels in that it doesn't use the envisioned disaster to clear away the modern world and tell an adventure story filled with journeys on foot, rival tribes and hand-to-hand combat. The characters are government officials, scientists and business people; the violence that punctuates the story is carried out with modern weapons or, in one case, a very contemporary torture chamber.  In other words, the book is set in a recognizably modern world.  The change is that our nation is in decline as a result of overwhelming stresses that global warming will produce if we fail to control it.


Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?


The main character, Daniel Danten, is an entomologist who is sent on a mission to the American South (below “the Heatstroke Line”) to combat an infestation of two-inch long flesh eating insects that have evolved and flourished in the torrid climate.  Once there, he is captured and forced to work in a laboratory that is supposedly dedicated to eradicating these insects. His captors, part of the small number of people who are clinging to life below the Heatstroke Line, turn out to be maniacal, obsessive American patriots.  Dan, a decent and extremely sincere person, is both bewildered and outraged at their behavior.  He goes back and forth between cooperation and resistance, willing to help eradicate the biter bugs but desperate to escape and get back to his family.

The second major character is an enigmatic young woman who Dan meets while he is a captive, and with whom he has a confusing and ambiguous relationship.  As it turns out, she has written a novel of her own (part of which appears in the book), filled with standard tropes of post-apocalyptic science fiction.  I use the contrast between her teenage fantasies and the world of the novel itself to underscore the reality of the dangers that the novel depicts.  The main character himself recognizes the contrast; in fact, this difference reveals the mystery of his capture to him and motivates the action that brings the novel to its close.  


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?


Write about something that you care about and that matters to you.  There is certainly a lot of pleasure for the writer -- and hopefully the reader -- in imagination and invention, but real commitment to the subject infuses the work with an essential intensity.  Don't hesitate to take risks.  Moving out of your comfort zone often means that you are moving more deeply into yourself, and that is where the real commitment to the work resides.


What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?


I do all my writing late at night, after midnight.  I find that I not only benefit from the absence of noise and distraction, but from the absence of daylight.  It allows me to immerse myself in the world I'm creating.  When I look up from my computer and instinctively look out the window, I don't see the sky or the trees around my house.  I see my reflection in the window  -- in other words, myself.  And that, of course, is the real source of the characters and action in my book. 


Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?


Knowing that I wrote the book to make a point -- and also knowing that I'm an academic during the day -- people were surprised to find it entertaining.  They didn’t expect as much action, or as much violence.  Several people found the torture scene hard to read.  They all enjoyed the novel within the novel, and were struck by the way I was able to change styles and reflect the way that a precocious and introspective teenage girl might write.


What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?


It came from my daughter, who is a very talented writer.  She’s a great kid and never gave me any trouble in my role as her parent, but she doesn't cut me any slack as a writer.  She alerted me to a number of assumptions I was making about gender, sexual orientation and social class.  I tried to defend myself by insisting that the novel took place in a future where things had moved backwards rather than forwards.  But she didn't buy it, and I wound up making a number of changes based on what she said.


What has been the best accomplishment?


Frankly, I'm not sure.  I would like to persuade some of the people who have allowed themselves to believe that climate change is a hoax to change their minds.  I think the Republican leadership would modify their irresponsible position if there was more opposition to it from their various constituencies.  As far as I can tell, though, the people who have read my book so far agree with me, and all the scientific data, about the seriousness of the problem, so I don’t know whether I’ve made any converts.


Do you Google yourself?


I try not to, but I do. 


How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?


I’m writing a second science fiction book for the same publisher.  It will also fall into the cli-fi category, but it doesn't deal with the current situation as directly.  The story takes place on a distant planet that has been colonized from Earth.  It is governed as a democracy, but the two main parties are focused on a long-standing dispute about cultural issues, and oblivious to an oncoming public health disaster.   The main character runs a French restaurant in the planet's main city, and his sister happens to have become the dictator of a smaller, neighboring planet that is threatening an invasion. 


Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?


I hope you find the book enjoyable and the two main characters engaging.  I wrote it to be entertaining, as any novel should be.  But I also hope it motivates you to think seriously about climate change, and about what we need to do to prevent it from ruining the lives of our grandchildren.  It is a difficult issue to deal with because the truly serious results will occur in the future, not in our lifetimes, but our lifetimes may be the last times when we can take action that will prevent disaster.

🏰 The Brass Compass Cover Reveal

Friday, March 3, 2017

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Taddaaa! Book Bloggin' Princess is so tickled pink to show you Ellen Butler's THE BRASS COMPASS cover and participate in her Cover Reveal! Please leave a comment to let Ellen know you stopped by and don't forget to order your copy!
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Title: THE BRASS COMPASS
Author: Ellen Butler
Publisher: Power to the Pen
Pages: 362
Genre: Historical Thriller/Suspense

Book Blurb:
 
A beautiful American spy flees into the night. On her own, she must live by her wits to evade capture and make it to the safety of the Allied forces.

Lily Saint James grew up traveling the European continent, learning languages as she went. In 1938, her mother’s abrupt death brings her back home to Washington, D.C., and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lily comes to the attention of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Her knowledge of German, French, and Italian makes her the perfect OSS Agent, and her quick thinking places her as a nanny in the household of an important German Army Colonel, where she is able to gather intelligence for the Allies. After her marketplace contact goes missing, she makes a late-night trip to her secondary contact only to find him under interrogation by the SS. After he commits suicide, she flees into the frigid winter night carrying false identification papers that are now dangerous and a mini film cartridge with vital strategic information. In order to survive, Lily must make it out of Germany, into the hands of Allied-controlled France, through a path fraught with peril.

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Book Excerpt:

Chapter One
Into the Night

February 1945
Germany

Was ist sein Name?” What is his name? The SS officer’s backlit shadow loomed over his victim as he yelled into the face of the shrinking man on the third-story balcony. “We know you’ve been passing messages. Tell us, who is your contact?” he continued in German.
Lenz’s gray-haired head shook like a frightened mouse. With his back to me, I was too far away to hear the mumbled response or the Nazi’s next question. I pulled my dark wool coat tighter and sank deeper into the shadow of the apartment building’s doorway across the street from where my contact underwent interrogation. The pounding of my heart pulsated in my ears, and I held my breath as I strained to listen to the conversation. In front of Lenz’s building stood a black Mercedes-Benz with its running lights aglow, no doubt the vehicle that brought the SS troops. None of the neighboring buildings showed any light, as residents cowered behind locked doors praying the SS wouldn’t come knocking. This was a working-class neighborhood, and everyone knew it was best to keep your mouth shut and not stick your nose in the business of the Schutzstaffel.
Their presence at Lenz’s home explained why my contact at the bakery was absent from our assignation earlier today. I dreaded to imagine what they had done to Otto for him to give up Lenz’s name … or worse, mine. Even though I’d never told Otto my name, a description of me could easily lead the SS to their target.
LΓΌgner!” Liar!
I flinched as the officer’s ringing accusation bounced off the brick buildings. A young SS Stormtrooper stepped out onto the balcony and requested his superior look at something in his hand. I should have taken their distraction to slip away into the darkness and run; instead I stayed, anxiously listening, to hear if Lenz would break under the SS grilling and reveal my identity. Clearly, they suspected he was involved in spying and would take him away. They probably also knew he had information to spill and would eventually torture it out of him, which was the only reason he hadn’t been shot on sight. It was only a matter of time before he gave me away. My friends in the French Resistance had been directed to hold out for two days before releasing names to allow the spies to disband and disappear. I wasn’t sure if the German network applied the same rules, so I remained to see if he would break before they took him.
“Where did you find this?” the officer asked.
The trooper indicated inside the apartment.
Zeig es mir.” Show me. He followed his subordinate through the doorway into the building.
Lenz turned and braced himself against the balcony. I watched in horror as he climbed atop the railing.
Halt!” a bellow from inside rang out.
Lenz didn’t hesitate, and I averted my eyes, biting down hard on my cold knuckles, as he took his final moments out of the hands of the Nazis. Sounds of shattering glass and buckling metal ripped through the darkness as his body slammed into the SS vehicle. In my periphery, a neighboring blackout curtain shifted.
Scheisse!” the SS officer swore as he and his subordinate leaned over the railing to see Lenz’s body sprawled across their car. “Search the apartment. Tear it apart!”
The moment they crossed the threshold, I sprinted into the night.
My breath puffed out in small plumes of smoke as I dodged through alleys, in and out of darkened doorways, moving on the balls of my feet. Silently, I cursed the cloudless sky as the moonlight bounced off the cobblestones, its brightness clear enough to land a plane. Unless waiting at midnight at a drop zone for needed supplies, a spy preferred the inky blackness of cloudy skies. Especially when escaping the enemy.
A few kilometers from Lenz’s apartment, I paused behind the brick rubble of a bombed-out building. My gaze searched the area for any sign of movement. Standing alert, I held my breath, attuning my senses to the nighttime sounds, and listened for the whisper of cloth, the click of a boot heel, or heaven forbid, the cock of a gun. The thundering of my heartbeat slowed, and I balled my fists to stop my shaking hands. All seemed quiet … for the moment.
My fingers curled around the tiny film cartridge, filled with information vital to the Allied cause, nestled in my coat pocket. Dropping down to one knee, I slipped the heel of my right boot aside and tucked it into the hidden cavity. The coded message I’d planned to pass to Lenz would have to be burned, but I couldn’t take the chance of lighting a fire right now. It would have to wait until morning.

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About the Author

Ellen Butler is a novelist writing critically acclaimed suspense thrillers, and award winning romance. The Brass Compass was inspired by the brave women who served in the OSS, British Special Operations Executive and French Resistance. Ellen is a member of The OSS Society and her fascination with WWII history originally piqued when her grandfather revealed his role as a cryptographer during the war. Ellen holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy, and her history includes a long list of writing for dry, but illuminating, professional newsletters and windy papers on public policy. She lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

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