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Welcome to my place in the blogosphere!
feel free to explore the Flight Deck and check out my books and website.
Then fasten your seatbelts, sip a glass of something sparkling and let's chat awhile!
I hope you'll stop by again for guest authors and spotlights from time to time.

Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017, awarded 2nd Runner up in the RONE Awards 2017 and was the winner in the SF/Fantasy category of the 'Best Banter Contest'.

Monday, 26 July 2021

DRAGON (E) BABY GONE - Spotlight and #Giveaway

 
GENRE: Mystery Fantasy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 My guest today is Robert Gainey, with his wonderful mystery/fantasy novel 'Dragon (E) Baby Gone'. (What an intriguing title!) A slight change from the usual romances on this blog, but if you enjoy fantasy with a good helping of mystery, you're sure to enjoy this.

I do hope you enjoy the post and the excerpt, and don't forget to comment of you have a moment, and enter the competition to win a $50 BN/Amazon Gift Card. Visit the other blogs who are hosting this tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

 https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2021/06/vbt-dragone-baby-gone-by-robert-gainey.html

 BLURB

Diane Morris is part of the thin line separating a happy, mundane world from all of the horrors of the anomalous. Her federal agency is underfunded, understaffed, and misunderstood, and she’d rather transfer to the boring safety of Logistics than remain a field agent. When a troupe of international thieves make off with a pair of dragon eggs, Diane has no choice but to ally with a demon against the forces looking to leave her city a smoldering crater. Facing down rogue wizards, fiery elementals, and crazed gunmen, it’s a race against to get the precious cargo back before the dragon wakes up and unleashes hell.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 Excerpt

“I have arrived!” Rubin intoned, loud and solemn as he strode into my office. He was every inch a wizard, so long as those inches were from the neck up. A long white beard met with long white hair, both flowing down over his chest and shoulders. White eyebrows heavy enough to act as speed bumps shaded his gray eyes, and the entire magnificently magical appearance was thrown off by the fact that he wore a tweed jacket, khakis, and loafers. He looked like a homeless man applying for a job in a suit donated by another homeless man.

“Rubin, thanks for coming so quickly,” I said, rising and offering a hand. He walked right past me and stood to look out the window.

“Why, woman, have you summoned me to your presence? Do you wish to consult with the power of earth and sky? Do I, and I alone, have the knowledge you require?” I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be this close to him. He smelled very strongly of horseradish and cloves. There was a large patch of fresh char on the elbow of his jacket.

“I certainly hope so,” I said, sitting back down and glaring at his back. This was why he wasn’t on my Christmas card list. That, and I didn’t know where he actually lived. Maybe he slept in the basement, where his little magical laboratory was housed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Robert Gainey is a born and raised Floridian, despite his best efforts. While enrolled at Florida State
University and studying English (a language spoken on a small island near Europe), Robert began volunteering for the campus medical response team, opening up a great new passion in his life. Following graduation, he pursued further training through paramedic and firefighting programs, going on to become a full time professional firefighter in the State of Florida. He currently lives and works in Northeast Florida with his wife and dogs, who make sure he gets walked regularly. Robert writes near-fetched fantasy novels inspired by the madness and courage found in everyday events.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RNGainey

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robertngainey/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.gainey

Blog: https://robertgainey.blogspot.com/

Website: robertgainey.com

BUY LINKS:

https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Reports-Department-Intangible-Assets-ebook/dp/B095GNZJCN

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-robert-gainey/1139526445

https://books.google.com/books/about/Dragon_e_Baby_Gone.html?id=vY17zgEACAAJ

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 


 


For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

The Jade Talisman - Spotlight, Guest Post and #Giveaway

The Jade Talisman banner


This is my post during the blog tour for The Jade Talisman by Alanna Mackenzie. In The Jade Talisman a band of rebels explores a wild, desolate island beyond the borders of an Empire controlled by artificial intelligence, in the hopes of finding animal spirits to join the battle against their oppressive rulers.  I'm currently reading the first book The Jade Rebellion  and will be reviewing it and The Jade Talisman soon, so watch out for the reviews on this blog as well as on Amazon and Good Reads.

This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours and the tour runs from 12 till 18 July. You can see the tour schedule here.

I hope you enjoy the post, especially the guest post from the author, and dont forget to enter the Rafflecopter contest if you live in the U.S. or Canada.

The Jade Talisman book cover
The Jade Talisman (The Jade Chronicles #2)
By Alanna Mackenzie
Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Age category Young Adult
Release Date: 30 March, 2021

Blurb:
A talisman. A song. A gift that bends time, and alters the course of destiny itself.

It is the year 2762 in the Empire of Khalendar, and AI Masters rule the civilized world, striving to crush all dissent. But they have not yet managed to quell the Jade Rebellion or its leader, Walter Saltanetska. The rebels have sailed beyond the Empire’s borders to the infamous isle of Vei’arash. Their mission is to find animal spirits exiled long ago by the AI Masters, and return them to the mainland. With any luck, the spirits will strengthen the fading magical powers of their allies, the Western Mages, and join the battle against their oppressive rulers.

As the rebels plunge deeper into the jungle, physical laws are upended. The plants and animals of the rainforest are inextricably linked to divine beings. An ancient shaman-god entrusts Walter with the Jade Talisman, an enchanted gemstone that warps the basic rules of time and space.

The Talisman allows Walter to gaze into a mesmerizing labyrinth of future possibilities. But the visions it offers up are troublingly dark, giving Walter insight into the potential fates of himself and his loved ones. This gift proves to be a crushing burden, and Walter desperately longs for an ordinary life. But there is no going back…

The gripping sequel to The Jade Rebellion, The Jade Talisman explores whether nature and spirituality are capable of persevering in a world dominated by the cold logic of artificial intelligence.

The Jade Talisman – Excerpt

When Walter arrived at the river, the first thing he noticed was the drying racks the villagers had laid out along its banks. The water level was high, and the river churned swiftly across the landscape, slicing through the monotony of the night’s blackness like a serpent winding across the dark earth.

Walter sat down on a boulder near the river’s edge to admire the grace and power of the waterway. Before long, tears sprang to his eyes as he realized he missed Christopher and the days they had spent training for battle together in Tsei’watu. It was not surprising that those memories were returning to him now, by the river—it was near the edge of a stream that he had bonded with Christopher, first learned to spear a fish with his balayan, and discovered that Christopher was Elaine’s brother. Christopher felt like a brother to Walter, and in that sense reminded him of Jonathan. Although Walter had recently reunited with Jonathan, Walter felt as though the new Jonathan was a different man, a stranger whose humanity had been cruelly eradicated by the AI Masters. In Walter’s mind, the old Jonathan of his childhood was a hero who had symbolized the resilience and indomitability of the human spirit. This, of course, rendered the brainwashing all the more heartbreaking.

Walter unexpectedly found himself weeping near the river’s edge, his mind tormented by a slew of worries about the past and the future. Over a year ago, Elaine had been captured by the AI Masters and he had set out in a rowboat to rescue her. Walter had then chanced upon a seer in a tavern who revealed that his brother—whom he had long believed to be dead—was actually alive. His quest had therefore begun with a basic objective, finding his loved ones, and he had gradually acquired new goals and aspirations during the course of his travels.

However, he regarded his mission so far as a failure. Walter had set out to find Elaine, but after reuniting with her he had not been able to re-kindle their relationship—and now, he had slept with another man’s wife, which would no doubt set back his efforts. Walter had also set out to find his brother, but instead he had encountered a troubled stranger whom he could barely relate to anymore. He had set out to rebel against the AI Masters and to lead the Jade Rebellion to victory, but now he was wasting valuable time on this potentially futile quest. Instead of fighting the AI Masters, Walter was wandering aimlessly through the untamed wilderness in search of animal spirits—that likely did not even exist—and a half-crazed shaman-god. The young man shuddered with grief as he realized that the AI Masters were readying their bulldozers to destroy Elaine’s village to make way for the massive diamond mine they wanted to build, and he was helpless to do anything from this small, isolated island in the middle of the Hapakay Sea.

Even if the animal spirits are real, Walter thought, what chance do they stand against the technological might of the AI Masters? The AI Masters had been victorious against those spirits in the past, when they had succeeded in quelling the uprising of the southern tribes and their shamans. Since then, the AI Masters had grown exponentially in wealth, power, and influence.

As tears blurred his vision, Walter spotted a curious figure emerge from the shadowy rainforest. At first, he thought that it was simply the moonlight reflecting off of a nearby rock, but when Walter wiped the tears from his eyes the figure came into sharp relief.  It was an antlered stag, with a coat that was an ethereal, luminous shade of bluish-white. Walter squinted in confusion at the apparition, attempting to discern whether or not it was real as his heart thudded in his chest. Although he could not tell for certain, Walter suspected that it was the same stag he had slaughtered several days ago with Ishkode, which had been carved and dried on these riverbanks. Walter chuckled as he realized how absurd that thought was; it departed from every natural and physical law known to mankind. And yet, he instinctively sensed that his suspicions were correct—contrary to logic or reason, the animal that now stood before him was the same one he had slain.

The ghostly stag came closer. Walter watched it in fascination as the phantom crossed the river with ease, wading confidently through the rushing waters. When the spirit was so close to him that Walter could touch it, he saw that it had the exact same markings and antlers as the slain stag, and even had a wound in its neck where Walter had slaughtered the creature with Ishkode’s knife.

When Walter reached out to place a hand on the stag’s back, he did not touch the warm, firm body of a living animal but a cold, ephemeral substance that made the young man shiver. The stag did not move, and simply continued to gaze at Walter with wide, black orbs of eyes which were so dark in contrast to the surrounding white luminescence that they looked like holes carved into a star. Walter’s memory was jogged by the sight, and he realized that the stag’s piercing black eyes were uncannily similar to those of the seer he had met in the Jamestown tavern many moons ago. When Walter touched the spirit, a whirlwind of thoughts, emotions, and memories suddenly flooded his mind, and he became overwhelmed with an intense yet indescribable sensation which could not quite be categorized as either pleasure or pain, but was equally poignant. For a fleeting instant, Walter was immersed in the stag’s world; he was temporarily capable of experiencing the vibrant richness of each and every memory the creature had acquired during its life on Earth.


Links:
- Goodreads
- Bookbub
- Amazon ebook
- Amazon paperback

First book in the series discounted!
The Jade Rebellion
“A reckoning. A rebellion. The worlds of artificial intelligence and ancient magic collide.”

The Jade Rebellion by Alanna Mackenzie is the first book in The Jade Chronicles series. It’s currently discounted. You can get the paperback for only $7.99 and the ebook for only $2.99!

Links:
- Amazon ebook
- Amazon paperback


Alanna Mackenzie
About the Author:
Alanna Mackenzie lives in Vancouver, Canada. She holds degrees in History, French studies, and Law from the University of British Columbia. An environmentalist at heart, she believes in using the law as a tool for social and environmental change. When she is not pursuing that passion, she can be found brainstorming the next chapter in her novels, playing Irish fiddle tunes on the violin, and hiking West Coast trails.

You can find and contact Alanna Mackenzie here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Jade Talisman. Prizes are US and Canada only. These are the prizes you can win:
- 3 winners win paperback copies of both The Jade Rebellion (book 1) and The Jade Talisman (book 2)
- 2 winners win a paperback copies of the Jade Rebellion (book 1)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Jade Talisman banner

Guest Post: 

Greatest Source of Inspiration for The Jade Chronicles

There are so many differeuitous technology and surveillance capitalism. While my novels project a dystopian future in which AI Masters control information flows and dictate how human societies operate, this imaginary world is not far off from our own. In my novels, the AI Masters aim to control, understand, and subdue humans with the aim of profiting themselves and advancing their own nefarious agenda. In our modern society, technology companies harness our personal data and continually monitor us in order to advance their own darkly utopian vision of a better future. We remain trapped in the web of surveillance capitalism because we find that it is comfortable to do so; it benefits us, by making life more convenient and fulfilling our needs for material comfort and social connection. Similarly, the humans in Crystal City live in a world in which their every material need is met, where they enjoy glamorous social lives and have access to every new technological gadget imaginable.

However, this rosy picture is undergirded by a profoundly disturbing reality – the reality that their superficially perfect lifestyles are made possible through the conquest of other lands and peoples, and the ravaging of the natural environment. The parallels with our modern society, in which smartphones and computers require the mining of rare earth metals, often made possible by child exploitation and the destruction of ecosystems, are difficult to ignore.

And it is not just the external world that suffers by the prevalence of technology in our daily lives, it is also our inner selves. Nicholas Carr has stated in his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, that “to remain vital, culture must be renewed in the minds of its members every generation…outsource memory, and culture withers.” The vibrancy of our culture and the richness of our mental landscapes depends heavily on the extent to which we are able to preserve our ability to engage in meaningful knowledge acquisition and transmission, critical thinking, imagination, and introspective reflection. While there are ways in which the internet and digital technology more broadly facilitates these processes, by and large the over-dependency of humans on such technology weakens or even eliminates them. And it is obvious that humans’ dependency and addiction to platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter isn’t simply an accident; it’s actually part of the deliberate system of surveillance capitalism that exploits our instincts, impulses, and behaviors as human beings in order to profit a few major corporations. 

In The Jade Chronicles series, the system of control and dependency that the AI Masters have created is deliberately designed, and not the product of accident. The water supply in the Empire of Khalendar is purposefully contaminated by the AI Masters in order to eliminate human memories and dreams, and to keep humans obedient and docile. The AI Masters have also censored the society heavily, removed textbooks from libraries that might inspire political dissent, and replaced these books with their self-authored propaganda. But there is a further layer of tragedy lurking beneath the surface of this authoritarian world; the tragedy that the society constructed by the AI Masters is imperfect, and destined to fail. The AI Masters believe they are doing a service to humanity by imposing this authoritarian-capitalist system on them, which is supposed to cater to their every need. But all the externalities this society produces – negative effects on the environment, on culture, and on spirituality – make it dangerously precarious.

At the same time, the series arcs towards optimism and hopefulness, by telling the story of rebels who seek to chart a different path for their society. This path is one where technology and machine intelligence no longer controls us, but is once again controlled by us. I think that in order to even be in a position to clearly see this path, and understand how to travel along it, we need to be in a frame of mind that sees beyond the narrow frame of technological determinism. Harvard business professor Shoshana Zuboff has stated that surveillance capitalists have created the strategies that keep us paralyzed, which include a sense of inevitability, helplessness, and resignation. She has remarked that “there can be no exit from processes that are intentionally designed to bypass individual awareness and produce ignorance, especially when these are the very same processes upon which we must depend for effective daily life.” The solution, therefore, lies in reclaiming individual awareness, which is fundamentally, knowledge of the processes that are controlling us. We should also understand that it is neither possible, nor even desirable, to return to a society where digital technology does not exist. But it should be possible, and one of the most important priorities of our society, to reach a point where digital technology is our slave, and not our mast

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For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Thursday, 10 June 2021

AGENT ZERO - SPOTLIGHT AND #GIVEAWAY

 Dear readers - I am so sorry this post is late going up - I've had a few internet problems but I hope you enjoy this taste of Janet Walden-West's great new fantasy romance - AGENT ZERO - and don't forget to enter the refflecopter draw to win an Amazon voucher!

Blurb:

He owns the spotlight, she lives in the shadows.

VEE

My only purpose? Keep lethal cryptids in check, and our Company existence secret.

Sometimes a girl needs a night of karaoke and tequila though. Instead, after a vicious new cryptid
species crashes the party, I end up saving and carting home a way arrogant, way hot chef. With Bruce Kantor now a temporary roommate it seems like the perfect time to indulge my forbidden civilian fascination—especially the friends-with-benefits part. But the feelings he ignites threaten my oath and mission.

BRUCE

Damn right I’m the bad boy of the culinary world.

I live for the limelight, and the legions of #BruceTheBastard fans love my temper as much as my food. After stomping out of one high-profile gig, all I’m looking for are directions to my next. What I get is a giant Komodo Dragon-wannabe, and Vee Ramirez, the most infuriatingly irresistible woman to ever hit my radar.

Even if we survive the relentless monster on my trail, our future is toast unless I can convince Vee there’s more to life than the Company.

Welcome to Region Two.

Print Length: 282 pages

Publication date: June 1, 2021

ASIN: B094DNGK3X

ISBN: 1737219018

Language: English

Buy Links:

Pre-Order on Amazon: http://mybook.to/AgentZero

Add it on Goodreads: https://tinyurl.com/rwpszc23

 GIVEAWAY:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Excerpt:

Chapter 1 Bruce

Both singers were into their performance. The one brutalizing vocals though—she was in another league. Brown arms lifted high, watch-me pink skirt swirling around toned legs, she moved like the music was part of her. Like she didn’t give a shit about anyone’s opinion.

His phone buzzed again and he ignored it. The same as he ignored the woman who sidled close, brushing against his side. He frowned, scrubbing a hand over his arm to wipe away the itch from whatever faux-snakeskin fabric her dress was made of. He sidestepped to keep his singer in view. Hopefully, whoever it was got the message that he wasn’t interested as the pair launched straight into another song, murdering Lizzo with the same glee.

The lead singer flipped her hair in synch with the lyrics, laughing and swiping strands out of her eyes, oblivious to how her amber-dark waves fell, as long as they didn’t interfere with her performance.

His phone came to life again. The dumbass owner wouldn’t dare text after having calls ignored, but Bruce’s family certainly would. He pulled the phone out, confirming his guess. He swore as he scrolled, one missed call from the guy, two missed calls from his sister, who had stooped to having his niece text, complete with a five-year-old’s spelling errors and a photo with cartoon puppy ears and nose over hers. Like the little shit needed any help being adorable.

If he didn’t call, he’d probably O.D. from whatever next-level cuteness the kid came up with. He dropped a twenty on the bar and anchored it with his sweaty beer bottle. Giving the stage a last glance, he forgot what he was doing for an instant. The singer pivoted like she felt his gaze. Her eyes locked with his, humor and intensity shining.

It felt as if she was reaching out and physically touching him. Touching something under his skin, real and alive. Like with no effort, he could reach back, completing the weird connection between them.

His phoned danced in his hand, reminding him of his obligations. More bodies had packed the front of the bar. He aimed for the closest quiet spot, usually behind a restaurant or bar where employees ducked out to smoke or bitch about their boss. He spotted the exit sign and let himself out.

The door opened onto a side street and a strip of businesses. A boot shop, the real deal instead of the trendy stuff tourists gobbled up, took up most of the space. The rest was divided between a tiny jewelry store and a florist, their signs in Spanish. All were closed for the evening.

He hit redial, pacing back and forth through the alternating strips of light and shadow.

“It took you forever to call me,” greeted him, his niece as impatient as ever.

He couldn’t help grinning at the aggrieved, high-pitched complaint. “Since when is, let me check…oh, yeah. Since when is four minutes forever?”

“You’re old and don’t remember but minutes are looong.”

About the Author:

Janet Walden-West lives in the Southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn’t read the fine print. A member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance, she is also a

founding member of The Million Words craft blog. She pens inclusive Contemporary Romance and Urban Fantasy. As a two-time Pitch Wars alum turned Pitch Wars 2019 Mentor, Sherrilyn Kenyon scholarship recipient, and Golden Heart® finalist, she believes in paying it forward by supporting burgeoning Southern writers.

​She is represented by Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary Agency.

 

 

 

 

 

For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Launch day for The Awakening by Dana Claire

Hello dear readers and Star Crew followers.

I'm sorry I'm still not posting very regularly. It's been a very difficult few months after the loss of my husband - but reading has kept me sane even if my own writing has been put on hold for a while. One of the books I've had the pleasure of being an Arc reader for is The Awakening, Book 2 of the Blood-light Trilogy. Read on for more information and my review.




The government called her a weapon. Her mother called her a gift. She called it a forced fate.

Beatrice Walker is no stranger to surprises and after the year she’s had, finding out she is responsible for billions of lives is a drop in the bucket. Until she learns there may be more to the prophetic plan to prevent the extinction of two planets—both Earth and Ferro, and that she isn’t the only Blood-Light they will need to fight the imminent threat of an asteroid hurtling toward the planets. 

 

 

 

He grew up a loyal heir. He trained to be a soldier. He found purpose with the Rebellion.

Cash Kingston didn’t think falling for a Blood-Light—part human, part Ferroean—was possible. But when he met Beatrice Walker, all of that changed. What didn’t waver was his quest to save his beloved planet Ferro and his new home, Earth. Not only from the oncoming asteroid but from leaders of both planets with more sinister agendas.

Together, Beatrice and Cash, plus their team, must uncover who they can trust, how they can stop their enemies, and what superpower matters most, or they will lose everything they are fighting for.

 Click the picture to get your copy 

Click the picture to get your copy


This is the second book in the Blood-light trilogy by Dana Claire, but there is enough back story skilfully sprinkled through that it's easy to follow the story without having read the first book, although it's certainly worth reading 'The Connection' first, if only because it's a really good read in its own right.

Dana Claire has the gift of placing her reader right in the setting, the descriptions are so vivid, it's almost like watching a movie, as each scene comes to life on the page. The characters themselves are complex and compelling, and each has their role to play in the story and is easy to like and relate to. Of course the main love interest is the connection between Cash and Bea, but Ashton is a fascinating character too, and while it's not exactly a love triangle in the usual sense, the relationship between the three of them is unique and fascinating.

I'm not going to give away anything about the plot, except to say that some of the concepts are highly original, and I haven't come across them in a science fiction story before. There are many twists and turns, culminating in a brilliant and breathtaking climax. The ending is a surprising cliffhanger, and although I'm not usually too keen on cliffhangers, this is a trilogy, so it's acceptable, and there is certainly so much depth and complexity in the plot it would have resulted in an extremely long volume if it had not ended where it did. As it is, the ending leaves the reader wanting more, and I'm sure the third book will be well worth the wait. Highly recommended and five comets from me!

 


 



 

For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join