Stuck in isolation and looking for books? I’m following the lead of many other authors and have made “THE ALT-WORLD CHRONICLES” free for the rest of the week! Stay safe, folks.
I really enjoyed Anatomy of a Darkened Heart by Christie Stratos, and I’m definitely looking forward to her new book, Locke and Keye. Christie was kind enough to let me be a part of her cover reveal for this, her second book, and I’m excited to share it here along with the blurb (and a link so I could go pre-order my copy right away – I encourage you to do the same).
As a standalone novel, Locke and Keye’s distinct characters and tense atmosphere create a dark Victorian experience that will stay with you after you turn the final page. As the book immediately following Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, Locke and Keye leads the Dark Victoriana Collection in a whole new psychological direction while expanding familiar characters and scenes to continue the Whitestone legacy.
“Brothers in the art of keeping secrets.” This is the mantra Mr. Locke’s carefully chosen five employees must repeat together every day before starting work.
If you won’t tell them your name for Locke and Keye’s ledger, they’ll find out. They have their ways—and many of them. Yes, these talented locksmiths can make a new lock and key set for you. They can even make a special padlock for a diary you never want to share with anyone. But just remember: when they make the lock, they keep a key—and it’s only a matter of time until they use it.
Day by day, each of these young, single, alone-in-the-world workers is being molded into the family they crave. A family in which each member has his use toward an end he doesn’t even know exists.
How do the brotherhood and the town’s secrets interlock? Only Mr. Locke holds the key.
Matthew looked down at his interwoven fingers. “I wonder what Jude knows that we don’t,” he said.
John put the journal down and looked at Matthew. “I don’t want to know,” he said. “Being asked to follow someone? It seems a little…” John shook his head once and looked down at the journal again.
“Well it must be for a reason,” Matthew said. “Mr. Locke wouldn’t be part of anything underhanded, I’m sure.”
The corners of John’s mouth tightened. “I’m sure.”
Locke and Keye
(Dark Victoriana Collection Book 2)
Coming September 7, 2017
Preorder your copy on Amazon HERE
Christie Stratos is an award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. She is the author of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart and Locke and Keye, the first two books in the Dark Victoriana Collection. Christie has had short stories and poetry published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Andromedae Review, 99Fiction, and various anthologies. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies.
FIND CHRISTIE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Christie-Stratos/e/B015L5FMTM/
Hey, everyone! I have a Goodreads Giveaway running for “The Prophet” if you’d like to enter to win a free paperback copy! I’m giving away a total of 5.
Also, you can grab the eBook for free at http://bit.ly/Amazon_TheProphet or on Smashwords or pretty much anywhere else. 🙂
Today I’d like to welcome Amie Irene Winters, bestselling author of the Strange Luck series.
Can you give us your quickest description of your books?
Dark. Strange. Adventurous. P erfect for fans of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Neil Gaiman, and all things supernatural. If you love magic, wizards, oddities, teen fantasy, mythology, supernatural creatures, young adult dark fantasy, and other realms, then the world of THE STRANGE LUCK SERIES awaits you!
I love when the “fans of” list clearly sets the tone and feel of the story. Are these elements things that you look for as a reader as well? What are some favorite books in your genre?
Thanks. I tend to look at the description first, but if I’m still not sure about the book I’ll check out the “fans of” component. I included titles/authors in my description because people have told me that my books are similar to those.
I love anything by H.P Lovecraft and Neil Gaiman. I’m really into gothic horror literature right now and have been reading authors who influenced Lovecraft.
I’m a Lovecraft fan too. What are you working on currently?
I’m finishing up the final edits for the third (and last book) in the Strange Luck Series—A Darling Secret. All the books in this YA Fantasy series center around a specific theme. Strange Luck (Book I) focused on the value of memories and identity. The Nightmare Birds (Book II) focused on fear. And, A Darling Secret (Book III) will focuses on inner strength. A Darling Secret will be released fall 2017. I can’t wait for the series to finally be complete!
Congratulations on nearly being finished! Did you always plan to focus each book on a specific theme, or was that something that developed as you went along? Are those particular themes important to you?
I didn’t plan it. The themes developed as I wrote. When I write I don’t plot everything out. I have a very general idea of what I’m going to do and the rest I come up with as I go. For example, I wanted to write a book about a world built using stolen memories. That was the general idea I had for Strange Luck. The rest took form as I wrote. A lot of the time I don’t even know what is going to happen in the story or to my characters, but that’s part of the fun.
All the themes I discuss in my books are important to me and are largely based on my own experiences/thoughts, like how we are our memories.
I’m a plotter myself, but your approach sounds like a fun way to create. When you get stuck in your writing, how do you make yourself keep going?
It sounds counter-intuitive, but I take a break from writing. I’ll go for a walk, hit an aerobics class, paint. Whatever it takes so that I feel recharged and can look at my work with a fresh eye. Sometimes it might take a few hours. Other times it might be a few weeks.
Do you find that your method brings a flood of ideas back to you so you start writing again, or do you eventually just decide to start writing again and hope ideas come?
More often than not, I’ll get a flood of ideas. This is why I always have a notebook with me or my cell phone, where I can take verbal notes. I also get inspired by reading. I’ll be sitting there half paying attention to the story I’m reading and then suddenly, an idea will come. All my paper bookmarks are covered in notes. Lol.
Ha! That’s a great idea for bookmarks. Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?
Definitely! Since I’ve always been an outdoorsy girl, I found it easy for my protagonist to be one too. Daisy’s a bit of a tomboy who loves hiking and camping. The trails she hikes and places she goes are based on some of my favorite real-life places in California (where I grew up). Almost all my characters are inspired by people I know. Even some of my old pets I had growing up! There’s a lot of other secret things I throw in too, like how my experience as an aerial acrobat influenced writing The Nightmare Birds, which is centered around a dark circus.
If you are curious about more secrets behind my books, check these out:
Aerial Acrobat?! That’s definitely a unique experience to draw ideas from! When real-life people inspire you to create characters, do you ever tell the real people? And do you ever encounter random people with quirks you use in your characters?
Yes, I do tell certain people that a character was inspired by them. They always get a kick out of it. And yes, I do encounter random people with funny quirks that I’ll implement into my stories. An example of both is Christine (the German aerial acrobat) from The Nightmare Birds. In real-life Christine was a German foreign exchange who stayed with me and my family in high school for a semester. She was obsessed with the color orange. Everything she owned was orange and she only ate orange food. She also had really long brown hair, which she always chewed on like a beaver. You’d be standing there talking to her and she would start chewing on her hair like it was a meal. I always thought both of those quirks about her were funny, so I used them in the story.
That is funny. Is there anything you’ve read that made you jealous you didn’t think of it first?
Probably Harry Potter. It’s one of my favorite series of all time, but I think J.K. Rowling is more than deserving, especially after all that she has been through. She’s truly an inspiration and a remarkable person.
Many authors seem to feel that way about Harry Potter and Rowling. Why do you think her stories make SUCH an impact on not only readers, but authors in particular?
J.K. Rowling effortlessly invites you into her magical world, which leaves a delightfully whimsical lasting impression on any child or adult. I think it’s impactful on authors because the story resonates across multiple genres.
Thanks, Amie, for sharing!
THIS WEEKEND ONLY, GRAB THE KOTA FOR $0.99!
A terrifying virus.
A global tyranny.
Humanity remembers no better life.
It’s time to give them one.
Troy Kandoya wants nothing to do with his brother’s Kota movement. But when the DRK virus threatens mankind and strange portals open in the sky, the Kota are the only people with answers. Troy becomes Trok, the immortal Kota Interceder, and he soon finds himself responsible for more than he ever imagined.
After 500 years of war, genetic manipulation, viral plague, and the Dominion tyranny, Trok must unite four prophesied Kota Warriors destined to save Earth. But nothing about these heroes is what Trok expected. Loree is an assassin with the ability to dematerialize. Zaak is forced to grow up on an alien planet. Alex is a telepath missing a year of her life. Ryu has incredible mutate-genes of strength.
Together, the Warriors join Earth’s rebels and use their abilities to fight the Dominion. But rebel politics are complicated. And always, the Dominion threatens its subjects with an unstoppable weapon – the dehumanizing DRK virus.
For centuries, no one’s been able to stop the Dominion and the DRK. Can four Warriors really make a difference?
Lee’s expression was one of complete confusion as he looked up from within the cryogenic bed and saw Trok kneeling beside him. Reviving him had been a shockingly easy procedure, but the Kota scientists with Trok had prepared for this their whole lives.
Lee coughed and struggled to sit up in the steaming cryo bed.
“It’s alright,” said Trok. “You’re okay. Just take it easy.”
He was so excited and relieved to see Lee alive that he nearly grabbed him in a long-overdue embrace. Instead, he placed a hand on Lee’s shoulder to steady him. Trok was tense for several reasons, but first off he wanted to make sure Lee was okay.
He’s my long-lost little brother, thought Trok. Please, oh, please, just let him be okay!
As the doctors examined him, Lee looked beyond Trok at the dozen men and women gathered. Then he looked around the lab-cave. Trok knew Lee would see immediately that a good deal of time had passed – the state of the lab-cave showed centuries of disuse. Trok and the descendents of the Kota remnant had always kept a careful eye on the place, but some things couldn’t fight age. Faint running lights hummed overhead, but the balcony around their lower level had rusted long ago and collapsed in places. Most of the ancient machinery was broken. Only the life support functions remained intact, though the system had been repaired many times by the Kota assigned to guard over Lee throughout the years.
Lee looked back at Trok and examined his face. Lee himself had physically aged maybe ten to fifteen years while sleeping. Now middle-aged, his forehead was wrinkled. His hair and beard were peppered gray. His body underneath the medical scrubs appeared only minimally atrophic, though very pale.
“You…” Lee cleared his throat to find his voice. “You were frozen too?”
Trok lifted an eyebrow. “Not exactly. Let the doctors check you over, and then we’ll take you out of here. I’ll explain everything once we’re safely away.”
“These are the Kota?”
“How long has it been?”
Trok hesitated, knowing this would be hard, but there was no real way to ease into it. “Five hundred years.”
Lee’s eyes widened, but he’d been prepared for this. He asked no more as the doctors finished examining him.
The doctor in charge stood, lowered his x-ray scanner, and turned to Trok. “Sir, he’s as stable as we could’ve hoped. I think we’re safe to move him. He’s weak and groggy, but that’ll wear off soon.”
“Good.” Relieved by this news, Trok focused on the next concern. He lowered his voice so as not to worry Lee. “I don’t want to stay here any longer than necessary. I’m sure Dominion patrols check this place on a daily basis in hopes of intercepting us.”
“Good thing we brought soldiers, then.”
Yes, thought Trok bleakly. Kota soldiers, anyway. And we’ve only got five with us. They’d be no match for Dominion drone soldiers.
“I’d rather we didn’t have to use them,” he told the doctor. “We can’t afford getting caught in a firefight.” He looked down at his brother.
The doctor nodded and turned to help his partners with their patient. Lee seemed curious about why the Kota deferred to Trok, but he allowed himself to be lifted into a wheelchair. Once he was ready, the whole group hurried for the ancient building’s exit.
Outside, the warm sunlight pouring down didn’t bother Trok’s eyes. He looked over the wilderness beyond the crumbling gates, searching for danger. Trok saw Lee take a deep breath of fresh air and close his eyes to feel the sunshine. This once again reminded Trok how disconnected he was from everything around him.
But now Lee’s with me, thought Trok. I’m not as alone anymore. I just hope he can handle this.
“No patrol activity in the area, sir,” called a Kota soldier from his position near a hover hummer.
Trok snapped into action and took over wheeling his brother toward this soldier’s vehicle. “Let’s be sure we’re gone before they arrive.”
“Yes, sir.” The soldier whistled to his partners. “Load up!”
The Kota doctors and soldiers piled into the other vehicles as Trok helped Lee into the backseat of their hover hummer. Once Lee was secure, Trok closed his door and stepped around the vehicle to climb in the other side. He watched as the first hummer started off toward the road.
So far, so good.
Inside the hummer, Trok ordered their driver to go. They took off smoothly, and Trok relaxed enough to face his brother. He remembered the last time they’d been here – at the lab-cave, in a hover vehicle, with a Kota driver.
Things are so different now, he thought.
Lee took a drink from a thermos the doctors gave him. “I don’t think I can wait until we get to wherever it is you’re taking me.” He was coming to life a bit. “What’s happened?”
Woo-hoo! It’s finally done.
Starting today, if you sign up for my mailing list (and if you’re already on my list, you should be getting a link soon) you’ll receive a free, brand new, exclusive copy of The Prophet (The Kota Series Companion Story).
This is the story of the prophets who originally wrote the Kota prophecies. It’s a prequel of sorts, so you can jump into The Kota Series world for the first time OR read for surprises if you’ve already read the series.
Mind your own dystopia.
Hazen Stephenson grew up pampered, and he knows it. But he’s never had it easy. Hazen’s nightmares aren’t merely products of his imagination, and he wrestles daily with guilt, responsibility, and questions of fate. Setting off across the globe, he meets people he’s dreamed about and changes their lives…for better and for worse.
Then he meets Renny Nado, who never dreamed her Creative Writing degree would amount to much. But a people called ‘The Kota’ say her gifts point to an important destiny, and she must convince Hazen of their purpose.
Meanwhile, the world is full of pain, hate, and political upheaval. Should they accept what the Kota say about the future and their place in it? Or should they keep their heads out of the clouds?
Want to read it?
I’m a sucker for any opportunity to read about a new alien world, and the one in this book is pretty good. In a few short pages (most of the book is set on Earth), the author does a great job of describing this alien planet, alien animals, and alien people. You get little glimpses throughout the book at just how different – and more powerful – these more evolved aliens are, and little bits about their history and abilities were interesting to me so that I’d like to see/read more.
Mostly this book is focused on Earth and the impending danger the aliens might bring. Poor Eckta gets dropped here and stuck with us, and he’s a good character – a little bit Superman, but with more of an “alien” foreignness. Other than him, it was a bit difficult to lock down who the main characters were going to be early on because of jumping from one character to the next, and no one was ever safe. But each character along the way is fleshed out just enough to be believable, giving a well-rounded look at how Earthlings might deal with such an alien as Eckta. The government reaction and what they did with him was all-too believable, if a little predictable.
The movement of the plot was rough for me. Everything moves really, really fast and could have been fleshed out better. A lot of the government activity behind the scenes (avoiding spoilers) seemed implausible and forced. A lot of the story just lacked a feel of reality for me – I know this is about aliens, but how the plot moved and what happened with the characters felt unlikely. Another round of edits would probably help too, as there were a few goofs.
Overall, though, I enjoyed the story. It’s quick and full of action, with a likeable character at the center.
See it on Amazon!
I usually get sick of teen girl stories, but this one was unique enough that it drew me in. You immediately have sympathy for the main character in that she lost her parents in 9-11, and you get to read her thoughts and emotions so that you know her pretty well. The other members of the family were all likeable too, as were most of the townspeople she encounters. There were of course the ‘mean girls’ type, but even they were given dimensions.
The overall mystery of what’s going on in the Hollow was great. I wanted to find out more with every hint I was given, and so that’s what kept me reading. I loved the way the author used the different timelines/storylines to show the history behind the mystery. The characters in these storylines were also complex and interesting, and the author’s ability to add historical flavor was a nice shift from the modern day feel of the main storyline. How everything came together was a surprise that I greatly enjoyed…but I won’t spoil anything.
One thing that bugged me was the constant mention of name brands. I get that this girl likes fashion. I know the author was trying to show that. But it was too much, in my opinion, and often distracted from the events going on. I also wasn’t crazy about the ending. It seemed a little melodramatic, and it made me a bit uncomfortable that…what happened… was portrayed as the best thing to make her happy again.
All in all, this was an enjoyable YA/mystery/ghost kind of story that you can read pretty quickly and keeps you entertained.
See it on Amazon!
The official page for “A Fairly Fairy Tale” is now live!
See link below.
Source: A Fairly Fairy Tale