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text 2017-05-20 16:53
Feature Friday for Mary Fan's Starswept with Interview and Review

 

Today for "Feature Friday" let us welcome the lovely Mary Fan with her book Starswept that will release August 29th. 

We will have info about the book and Mary. Plus we have a great interview with her and my review of Starswept.

Make sure to check everything out and go and give Mary some love and add her to your TBR ;)

The cover below is NOT the final cover, that will be released in June.

Happy Reading :)

 


Starswept

 

 

In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

 

 

 

 

Will be available August 29th, 2017

 

 

 

Hello Mary. Thank you for taking the time to stop in and chat with us, it is lovely to have you.

 What is the first book you read that made you fall in love with reading?

My goodness, I’ve loved reading since literally before I can remember! In fact, I was “reading” before I could actually read, if that makes any sense at all. My parents have read me storybooks since I was an infant, and apparently, when I was about eighteen months old, I memorized one of them and knew just where to turn the pages. So I shocked all their friends by being this roly poly baby who could barely talk but somehow knew how to “read.” There are definitely books that stick out in my memory, though. The Boxcar Children… I was obsessed with those as a kid. Read every single one the bookstore carried, owned enough to take up two entire shelves. And the American Girl books… I remember devouring those over and over, especially the “Save the Day” ones where the girls got to take action and, well, save the day. And Sherlock Holmes—I checked out the complete anthology when I was 10 and kept renewing so I could read the whole thing over and over (it was too big for my backpack). And then there’s the book that turned me onto sci-fi: Jack Williamson’s Legion of Space. Looking back, it’s not my favorite sci-fi novel, but it was vivid enough to lead me down the wormhole to super-nerdom that has me reading and writing geeky books to this day.

 

 If you didn’t write, what would you do instead? Are there any other talents you are hiding from us?

I’d be a composer! I actually was a composer for several years—in fact, I was majored in composition. My senior thesis was an hour-long setting of the Dies Irae for choir and piano quartet. Music’s as much a part of me as reading and writing are… Sometimes, I think I learned how to read music before I could actually read words (I started violin when I was three). I don’t compose anymore, unfortunately. Not because I meant to give it up, but because I fell into the writing hole instead. And with a day job, I just didn’t have time to keep up with both. Every time I want to sit down and compose something, I have some pressing book matter to attend to. One of these days, I’ll get back to it. One of these days.

 

 What are your hardest scenes to write? And what are what are the easiest to write for you?

The hardest scenes for me to write are the really emotional ones. It’s because I feel like no matter how hard I try, I can never quite get everything I want to across. I want my words to burrow into a reader and let them feel what my characters feel, and I always worry that I haven’t done enough to achieve that connection. The easiest scenes for me to write are action scenes. I think it’s because I watch too many action movies. They just choreograph themselves in my head as I’m writing.

 

 What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I mostly research setting elements. Though I write faraway sci-fi and fantasy, everything is grounded in reality in one way or another. There’s a certain amount of verisimilitude that must be achieved… a thread tying back to the real world that keeps readers from feeling lost in a fantastical world. In the case of STARSWEPT, which is about young performing artists in the sci-fi future, I ended up doing a lot of research about ballet and aerial arts to inform the setting, and I already had the background knowledge in orchestra and opera, since I participated in both. Of course, most of what I found didn’t get used (no one wants to listen to me drone on about turnout or embouchure when there are telepathic alien boys to meet), and knew going in that it wouldn’t be. But just having that background, I believe, influenced my writing in subtle ways that help bring it to life.

 Tell us something about you that might surprise people. Oh dear… I feel like I’ve done many absurd things in my life, and yet day-to-day I’m really boring. How’s this… Twice I’ve found myself an unwitting model for ads. The first time was when I attended a science camp in high school. A photographer came to take pictures of the class, and I figured if the photos were used, they’d be wide shots of the classroom. The next summer, I found a brochure for that camp with my big face plastered across the top. Apparently I’m very photogenic when peering into a microscope. The second time was just this year… I attended a writers conference last year along with one of the members of my local writers group. Someone was taking photos, but I didn’t pay attention. I was considering going back this year and went to check out the programming on their website. A giant web banner greeted me, featuring a close-up of my friend’s face. And I’m sitting right next to him, out of focus but in the foreground. Maybe I should consider monetizing my “paying attention” face, since apparently people are using it to sell events… Not sure if that was a surprising fact, but I thought it might be amusing at least?

 

This was fun again thank you so much for taking the time to chat. You rock!

 

 

 

 

Going in to this book I had no idea what to expect. I have read a few books set in the way future, some on earth, some set in space others somewhere in between. But this book is somewhat unique.

I really enjoyed the world setting, is was fantastic and really great explained. But so were the characters, I really loved Iris and her dark, yet beautiful journey in this book.

Iris, is coming from a poor household and struggles to keep afloat with her school for the arts. As if that is not enough she soon has to face so much more. She must make very hard decisions that could cost her everything. An Adryil boy, doesn’t help for the matter. And as they grow closer things are just getting more and more complicated and more dangerous for Iris.

Some things seemed odd but in the end everything just come together really great and make sense.

I really loved this book, it was dark, sweet and had some great twists. It also was really great written a much welcomed new book in the YA sci-fi book world.

This was my first book by Mary Fan but will definitely not be the last.

If you like YA dystopian, Sci-Fi books, I highly recommend this book.

I rate it 5 ★

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Fan

 

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series, which comprises ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES (Red Adept Publishing, 2013), SYNTHETIC ILLUSIONS (Red Adept Publishing, 2014), and VIRTUAL SHADOWS (2015), and STARSWEPT (Snowy Wings Publishing, 2017), a young adult sci-fi romance. Her works also include several young adult fantasy novellas: THE FIREDRAGON (Glass House Press, 2014), FIREDRAGON RISING (Glass House Press, 2015), TELL ME MY NAME (Glass House Press, 2014), and LET ME FLY FREE (Glass House Press, 2016). These serve as prequels to two full-length series currently under contract with Glass House Press,  Flynn Nightsider and Fated Stars.

In addition, Mary is the co-editor (along with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels) of Brave New Girls young adult sci-fi anthologies, which feature tales about girls in STEM. Revenues from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.

Mary has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and especially enjoys the infinite possibilities and out-of-this-world experiences of science fiction and fantasy. In her spare time (when she has any), she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and exploring new things—she'll try almost anything once.

 

 

Links

Website *** Blog *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Goodreads *** Instagram

Snoopydoo sigi

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/feature-friday-mary-fans-starswept
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text 2017-05-12 14:47
Feature Friday for Charity Becker's Presence: Awakening with Interview and Excerpt

 

Today for "Feature Friday" let us welcome the awesome Charity Becker with Presence: Awakening the first book in the Presence Series.

We will have info about the book and author. Plus a great interview with Charity and a excerpt from the book.

Make sure to check everything out and go and give her some love and add her books to your TBR ;)

Happy Reading :)

 


 

Presence: Awakening

 

Mina Jewel swears the boogeyman slaughtered her abusive stepfather. But as far as the quiet town of Port Orchard, Washington is concerned, Mina is a cold-blooded killer and Cadric Jaden had been a saint. After enduring nine years of psychiatric care and whispers of her guilt, Mina is hell-bent on clearing her name, exposing Cadric for the sadistic pedophile he really was, and uncovering the true identity of the strange being who saved her life.... See More Through a whirlwind of near-death experiences and sanity- shattering revelations, Mina discovers that Washington is a hotbed of supernatural activity, Cadric's sinister plan didn't die with him, and that she could hold the key to ending the suffering of millions. . . But first she has to survive.

 

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Buy Links

 

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ONE

~~

“Mina, get up.”

The voice yanked me from my sleep, but I didn’t open my eyes. Opening my eyes would make it all real, make the punishments start again. Of course, I’d be punished no matter what I did; nothing I did was ever good enough. I was never good enough.

“Come on now,” the voice said, “open your eyes.”

My stomach cramped, waiting for the grabbing, hurting hands, but I cracked my eyelids, ready to face it because I had no other choice. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad this time. Maybe they’d get tired, or bored, or distracted by someone else for a change. Maybe.

“Welcome back to planet Earth.”

I turned toward the voice, squinting against the bright morning light. Gradually, a face came into focus. A smiling, kind face framed by soft black curls.

“Alice,” I whispered, and the memories hit me in a dizzying rush. I closed my eyes for a moment, basking in sweet relief. There were no more punishments, Cadric Jaden was really dead, and I. . . Well, I was here, safe at last. “I’m okay,” I said softly as the last bits of fear drained away.

“That’s debatable,” Alice said with a little chuckle. “Now, come on. Get up. We gotta go.”

I opened my eyes to see her still smiling, holding a hairbrush out for me to take.

Sitting up, I took the brush from Alice, then pulled it through my tangled curls. Static snapped with each stroke, and I cringed at the tingle against my neck. “Ugh,” I said, pulling the brush away from my long hair. “If I don’t shower first, I’ll be the only white girl on the second floor with an Afro.”

Alice folded her arms under her breasts, tipped her head to the side, and grinned. “Well, hurry it up, Sistah.”

“Why the hurry?” I raised an eyebrow. “What’s on the activity roster for today? Chess in the game-room? Square dancing? Maybe a little papier-mache?” I gave a mock shiver of excitement and dropped the brush onto my bed.

“Don’t be a dork.” Alice’s dark eyes twinkled with good humor. “Doc wants to see you in his office. . .″ she glanced at her watch. “Like, ten minutes ago.”

“Ah!” I said with a grin. “The truth comes out. Let me guess,” I wiggled my eyebrows up and down. “Anthony on the fourth floor keeping you from your nursing duties?”

Alice blushed and looked to the floor, a smile tugging the corners of her mouth.

“Don’t worry,” I said as I slid out of bed and moved toward my dresser. “Dr. Stevens won’t hear from me how you’ve been gallivanting around the surgery ward with the interns.”

~~

“Good morning,” Dr. Stevens said with a crisp nod. The sudden movement sent his glasses sliding down his long nose, saved only by the red, allergy-swollen tip.

“Aw, no lecture on the importance of promptness, Doc?” I said with a little pout. I slumped down into the rigid leather chair across from the doctor’s.

“Not today.” He smiled pleasantly and folded his hands on his desk. “You’ve made amazing progress, Mina, and done far better than I could have hoped for in these nine years.”

“Did I miss the ′Make A Loony Feel Special Day’ memo?”

Dr. Stevens pushed his thick glasses back in place, ignoring my attempts to rattle him. He’d gotten good over the years, but I was determined to shake him today. I was about to try again when he cut me off with one raised hand.

“Now, I’m not saying we want you to leave us—”

My playfulness dropped like a boulder to the bottom of my stomach, and I sat up straight, gripping the arms of the chair. “You’re sending me away?”

“No, not sending away. I believe you’re ready for the next step in your recovery, to venture out on your own. Isn’t that exciting?”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “I. . . I’m not ready.” The first wave of panic rolled my stomach around the boulder, squeezing it into a painful knot.

“In this phase of your rehabilitation, you’ll live your life the way it was meant to be lived, using all the skills we’ve taught you here at Divine Hope.” Dr. Stevens picked up a slip of paper from his desk, quickly looked it over, then held it out to me. “This man is willing to give you a job.”

I swallowed hard, staring at the doctor. “A job?” This wasn’t real. They wouldn’t just toss me out into the big wide world like this. I’d never had a job before, unless you counted working in the hospital library. But that was just busy work, something Dr. Stevens cooked up to keep me from pestering the hospital staff.

When I didn’t take the paper, the doctor stood and leaned across his desk to push it into my hands. I blinked once, then glanced at the paper. There was an address and Oliver Page written in neat block letters. My chest tightened around my pounding heart. It was real. They were throwing me away.

“But. . .” I looked up. “But, where will I live?” I asked, scrambling for something to say, something to keep me here just a little bit longer.

“As part of our rehabilitation program, we’ve secured an apartment for you a few blocks from your new job. Your landlord has many years of experience with ex-patients, so you’ll be in good hands. Each week you’ll come back here for your sessions, and you can always call if you need anything.” Dr. Stevens glanced down at my lap. “Just relax, Mina.”

I’d entwined my fingers so tightly around the paper that my knuckles were white and my fingertips had gone numb. I hadn’t even noticed my hands folded in my lap, my good girl posture, something I hadn’t done in years. I pulled my hands apart, flexing my fingers, leaving the paper crumpled in my lap. Quietly, I counted, concentrating on taking slow, steady breaths between each number.

“Good,” Dr. Stevens said softly. “Good. Now remember, you’re not a prisoner to Cadric anymore. You’ve earned your freedom.”

“Right,” I said, my skin prickling. “Freedom.”

~~

 

Check out the rest of the series 

 

Presence: Wolf Moon  Presence: Smoke and Fire Presence: Into the Dark Presence: August Heat (Presence #5) Presence Caged  

 

 

 How many hours a day do you write?

That depends on the day, how I’m feeling, and what other things I’ve got going on. Since I do editing, ghostwriting, work for video game companies, and do some freelance copywriting in addition to my novels, I feel like I’m writing all day long. If I had to give it an average, I’d say probably 8 + hours a day writing, not including emails, social media, and personal stuff. Thankfully, I type really fast!

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

An interesting tidbit about my characters is that I know every single one of them in my real life. EVERY one, even the bit parts or the people you only see a quick description of one time. They’re friends, family, acquaintances, people that have piqued my interest in some way. It’s not always good, and in fact, every villain in my stories is someone from my life who hurt me or a loved one in some way. So, it stands to reason I’d also choose names based on the people in question. Generally, I use their middle name as a starting point and adjust it from there. Some of the stranger names (like Zia, Teo, and Mr. Boad) are still people I know, but their names are anagrams for something personal. Sometimes an anagram won’t work, so I use abbreviations or the result of a name-code chart I created when I was ten.

 

 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read every book review! I deal with negative reviews the same way I deal with positive ones: I thank the reviewer (if possible), and I take the time to appreciate and acknowledge their opinions. If the critical review points out a flaw, I take it to heart and consider the topic for future books. I don’t see a negative review as inherently BAD, but rather an opportunity to look at my writing from a new perspective. That’s not to say I don’t get my feelings hurt; I am human, after all. But I don’t let it affect me on a personal level. Logically, I know my books won’t be for everyone. It’s impossible to write a book that 100% of people will love 100% of the time! If someone is just being mean though, like a troll just out to be hurtful, I’ll ignore it. If a critical review only says “This book is shit” then it’s not really a review, is it? If they won’t take the time to explain why they think it’s shit, why should I take the time to care what they said? That said, I’ve never received a review like that, lol. I appreciate well-worded and thought out reviews, both positive and critical, and I listen when my readers talk.

 

 As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

A wolf or a tiger, depending on my mood. I love both equally, and each possesses traits that I connect with. I have a collection of plush wolves and tigers all over my house, and I even have a tattoo with a wolf paw print and a tiger paw print.

 

 What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I wrote a letter to my dad when I was very young, and it said “I hate you!” Of course, I didn’t actually hate my dad; I loved him very much. But I was angry that I’d been caught being naughty and that I’d been disciplined for it. At 5 or 6 I didn’t have the capacity to understand it was my fault I was in trouble because I broke a rule. Anyway, I couldn’t bring myself to say the words out loud (because I knew in my heart I didn’t really hate him), but I could write it out and almost feel brave. But then he read it, and everything changed. I remember it vividly! I stood in my bedroom doorway, peeking down the hall as he picked it up and read it. He turned to face the hallway and I zipped back into my room before he could see me (though I’m sure he knew I was there). The next morning, there was a folded note taped to my bedroom door. I opened it up, and I saw it was my note, and my dad had added to it. He’d circled my poorly scrawled “I hate you!” and underneath, in his flowing, beautiful handwriting, he said, “And I will always love you.” That day, I realized that words were powerful, and that we should wield them with care. A hastily scribbled note of hate and cruelty can destroy a person as surely as a sweet love note can remind them they are adored, appreciated, and wanted . . . even when they’re being snotty little assholes who shot the BB gun without permission.

 

 

As a domestic violence survivor, Charity uses her past as fuel for her fiction, creating strong characters who overcome great odds to learn, grow, and evolve past their own pain. In her non-fiction, Charity is straight-forward and no-nonsense, giving the facts (and her opinions) with no apologies.

Bibliography:Presence: Awakening, Presence: Wolf Moon, Presence: Smoke and Fire, Presence: Into the Dark , Presence: August Heat, Beyond the Veil: Book One, Blyssfully Abnormal, Bird's Town Presents: Chick Rebuilds, Brother Toad and the Giants, The Pit Monthly, the Don't Sweat series, The Pantheon Cycle: Shrouded Aspect by Gilligames (video game storyline), projects for Nekki (video games), and various ghost writing gigs.

Besides writing, Charity is also a professional editor, as well as an accomplished artist and musician. See her stuff at http://www.optycal.com or chat on Charity Becker's Facebook.

All books are available for great prices at the Blysster Press store!

 

Links

 

Website *** Facebook *** Amazon *** Goodreads 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/feature-friday-charity-beckers-presence-awakening-interview-excerpt
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text 2017-05-05 14:05
Feature Friday for Karissa Laurel's Midnight Burning with Excerpt and Guest Post

 

Today for "Feature Friday" let us welcome the awesome Karissa Laurel with her book Midnight Burning the first book in the The Norse Chronicles.

We will have info about the book and author. Plus we have a great excerpt from the book and a guest post by Karissa.  

Make sure to check everything out and go and give her some love and add her to your TBR ;)

Happy Reading :)

 


 

Midnight Burning

 

Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Driven to learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her.

As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.

 

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Buy Links

 

 

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Get the other books in the series 

 

Moonlight Falling (prequel) 

 

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Arctic Dawn

 

Arctic Dawn (The Norse Chronicles, #2)

 

 

 

 

Chapter one

 

My brother, Mani, once told me Alaska was the first place he had ever travelled where he knew he was somewhere different—somewhere decidedly not home—before he ever set foot on the ground. I didn’t understand what he meant until now. Outside my airplane window, the glassy waters of Cook Inlet reflected a bright blue late-summer sky. Dark and looming, the Chugach Mountains encroached from the east. Far to the north, the ghostly, snow-crusted visage of Mount McKinley rose above the landscape, an ancient king, high on his dais, surveying his kingdom. By comparison, Mani and I had been raised somewhere a little more commonplace. Home was a small town in the foothills of North Carolina, over three thousand miles away. And this was the first time I had ever left it. I probably should have eased into long-distance travel in the same way I eased into a cold swimming pool—one toe at a time. A trip over the border into Gatlinburg. A weekend visit to D.C. But no, I had taken a plunge from the high dive instead, and boy, was I in over my head. The captain’s calm and assuring voice spilled across the cabin, announcing our approach and descent into Anchorage. Seatbelt signs chimed and flashed. A pair of flight attendants swept down the aisles, collecting trash and reminding passengers to raise seat backs and lock away tray tables. I closed my eyes, drew in a deep breath, and urged my heart to return to its regular pitter-patter pace, but it refused to obey. I breathed in again and trapped the breath in my lungs. Chill, Solina, I told myself. It’s only a week. I could survive anything for one week, right? And I wouldn’t be on my own. My brother’s best friend, Val Wotan, was at the airport waiting for me. Val had texted me a dozen times to make sure I hadn’t missed my connecting flights or fallen out of the plane somewhere over Canada. Val was expecting me, and I was a glutton for fulfilling others’ expectations. I also owed this trip to my brother, to the honor of his memory. How could I ever look myself in the eye again if I gave in to my doubts? If I didn't give Mani my absolute commitment? Val deserved my loyalty, too. In the few years I'd known him, Val had risen from casual acquaintance to something I wasn't quite ready to label, but just thinking of him made my heart beat a little faster, my breath come a little quicker. Val had earned my regard by being the sibling I couldn't be for Mani after he’d left home. He had watched Mani's back, made him welcome and comfortable in a strange and foreign place. He had even saved my brother’s life once. I chuckled, remembering how Mani had loved to recount the story of the raging bull moose—deep in a rutting frenzy and crazed by the need to mate with anything female and fight anything that wasn’t. Not long after Mani had first arrived in Alaska, he and Val had gone off on a backpacking trip. They came upon the moose on the edge of a meadow and caught it off guard. The moose turned its hostile gaze on Mani, lowered its rack, and charged. Stunned and uncertain how to react, Mani stood frozen in place and watched his life pass before his eyes. Meanwhile, Val calmly drew a .44 Magnum from the side pocket of his backpack and fired off a warning shot. The moose reconsidered his challenge and lumbered away into the woods. If only Val and his gun had been there the night my brother died. Then I might be coming to Alaska for an entirely different set of reasons. After an uneventful landing and a short taxi to our gate, the other passengers filtered out from the rows of seating and disappeared through the exit doors. The cabin emptied, and still I sat. My presence drew the attention of a flight attendant passing through on his way to the back of the jet. His sudden halt and surprised expression woke me from my daze. “Is something wrong, miss?” he asked. “Can I help you with anything?” I blinked and shook my head. “No. Sorry. I’m just... just...” He patted my shoulder. “First time flying?” It was a convenient excuse, and not a lie, so I took it. “Nerves got the best of me, I guess.” I rose and stumbled out of my seat. The attendant helped me collect my luggage from the overhead bin. I smiled and thanked him. “It’s no trouble,” he said. “And it was my pleasure.”

When Val met me at baggage claim, he swept me into a crushing bear hug, and I sank into the comfort of his strength. “God, Solina,” he said. “It's so good to see you.” Val Wotan was a towering mass of rough-and-ready Alaskan adventure. A shaggy mop of auburn hair swept over his brow, and a day-old beard shadowed his jaw. He looked as though he could withstand any challenge the wilds of nature could throw at him. Broad shouldered, workman's hands, ruggedly capable—he inspired my confidence. “It's good to see you, too," I said. "A lot better than the last time, right?" The last time Val and I had seen each other was at my brother’s funeral, four months ago. Since then Val and I had e-mailed or spoken on the phone weekly. Sometimes more. There were few others with whom we could share our common pain. Val leaned back and peered at me. “We were all in a bad place then." “To say the least.” The sympathetic look on Val’s face stirred up my grief. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “I miss him, too.” I swallowed my tears and swatted Val's shoulder. “Don’t get me weepy in the middle of the airport.” “Look around, Solina." Val gestured around the airport. "Everyone gets emotional at a homecoming.” “This isn’t home.” “They don’t have to know that.” A smile crept onto my lips. In return, Val rewarded me with a blazing bright one of his own, and it warmed my heart. The brotherhood Val bestowed on Mani had passed to me, like an inheritance. He told me when I started planning this trip that he’d be there for me in any way I needed. Before my brother’s death, I would have known exactly what to do with that offer, but now? Now my heart was bruised, raw, and full of grief. I didn’t know if there was room in it for anything, or anyone, else. It was so damaged and fragile. How could I risk causing it more harm? Someone cleared his throat nearby, and Val released me from the hug. He motioned to a man standing a few feet away, watching us with eyes narrowed and arms folded over his chest in an austere stance. “Solina, let me introduce you to Aleksander Thorin. Mani’s boss... and mine.” Val grimaced at that last bit. Modern-day Viking—that was my first impression of the man who had employed my brother for the past three years. Aleksander Thorin embodied the stereotype: icy blond coloring, an imposing physique, a subtle air of menace and threat. All he needed was a couple of braids woven through his long hair and a bearskin cloak instead of his blue flannel button-up. His dark eyes evaluated and dismissed me in one blink. Not much of a welcoming party, is he? “My Jeep is in the shop,” Val said. “Thorin offered to give us a lift." I nodded by way of greeting. “I didn’t mean to impose, Mr. Thorin.” “It’s no trouble, Miss Mundy," he said in a deep and rumbling voice. "Although I’m not convinced your coming here was the best idea. In fact, I’m pretty sure it's only going to stir up trouble.” His unsolicited opinion raised my hackles. What did this man, this stranger, presume to know about me or my situation? “I came here to close out Mani’s affairs. See to his personal things. My parents and I have put this off long enough.” “Thorin,” Val said, stepping between us. “Don’t give her a hard time. She’s not one of your tour guides.” “Of course.” Thorin relaxed his severe posture, unfolded his arms, and shoved his hands into his pockets. “I apologize, Miss Mundy. Let me make it up to you. Dinner and drinks—my treat.” Before I could misunderstand Thorin’s intentions, Val explained. “Boss Man’s hosting a get-together tonight. He does it every once in a while. Employee appreciation, you know?” Part of me wanted to refuse because I suspected Aleksander Thorin rarely heard the word “no” and I liked the idea of ruffling his cool demeanor. But doing so might have denied me the chance to meet my brother’s friends and co-workers, and that was one of my many reasons for making this trip. I curved my lips into what I hoped was an agreeable smile. “Sure. Sounds great.” # My brother had lived in the harborside village of Siqiniq, a good two hours’ drive from Anchorage along a highway that wound among evergreen forests, snowcapped mountains, and the gray-green waters of Turnagain Arm, Kenai Lake, and Resurrection Bay. Aleksander Thorin drove with single-minded focus and only spoke if directly addressed, but Val talked about inane things along the way and pointed out local attractions: a forlorn and solitary roadside moose, the Alaska Railroad (but no train), and Beluga Point (sadly lacking signs of habitation). Once we reached Mani’s apartment complex, Thorin eased his Range Rover into a space beside my brother’s old 4-Runner. He shifted into neutral but stayed behind the wheel, letting his SUV idle while Val helped me unload and tote my bags up to my brother’s apartment. Someone had shoved Mani’s things into haphazard piles when they painted and installed new carpet in his living room. The reek of fresh latex and acrylic burned my nose and obliterated any scent of my brother that might have lingered. “You okay here by yourself?” Val asked. “You’re probably going to run into a few ghosts.” I inhaled a shallow breath. “I’ll be okay. It’ll be nice to be in Mani’s place with his stuff. It’ll feel like he’s around somewhere, waiting to come home.” Val arched an eyebrow. “And you honestly think you can clean out his apartment, box up his stuff, and move on?” “It’ll be cathartic.” He frowned. “Or masochistic.” Val pulled out his wallet and rifled through the contents until he found a business card for Thorin Adventure Outfitters. He handed it to me. “I’m going to the store with Thorin. That card has the number on it. Call me there around seven, and I’ll come pick you up for the party. My Jeep should be out of the shop by then.” The card displayed Val’s name in tiny print beneath the larger, bolder letters that spelled out M. Aleksander Thorin, CEO. “Chief Ego Officer,” I muttered. “What?” I waved in a never-mind gesture. “I’ll see you later.” “Tonight,” Val said as he stepped past me into the breezeway.

I pressed the door closed behind him and went into Mani’s bedroom. In his closet I found his dirty clothes stuffed into a bulging hamper. After gathering a bundle of denim and cotton in my arms, I buried my face in the fabric. The organic odors of Mani’s skin filled my nose. Still breathing him in, I sank cross-legged to the floor and let the shade of my brother envelop me in its memories.

 

 

 

 

Midnight Burning: Character Interview

Name:  Solina Mundy    

Age:  Twenty-five

Occupation:  I’ve worked at my family’s bakery for most of my life. Wedding cakes, cookie bouquets, pastries, bread, muffins. You name it, I’ve baked it.

Physical Description:  About 5’5” with longish-blond hair. Slim but not scrawny. Golden brown eyes, or, as my dad would say, whiskey colored.

Likes & Dislikes:

 Likes: Books and reading. I took photography in high school, but never had much time to pursue it. Being outside as much as possible, especially on hot, sunny days. The beach.

                Dislikes: Being bossed around. Dishonesty. Lies. Wolves. Cold, ice, snow, darkness.

Relationship Status:  Single and satisfied. There’s no way I’m letting romance get in the way of finding my brother’s killer. Although, there does seem to be a sudden abundance of very good looking men in my life, lately, and they seem to be trying their best to distract me.

Typical Friday Night:  Nothing about my life is typical anymore. When I was home in North Carolina, I might go out with friends to see a movie or stay home and read a book. I rarely stayed up late because it was my job to open the bakery in the morning and that meant getting up at the crack of dawn. Now I can hardly keep track of the days, but I’m almost always doing something that involves looking for my brother’s killer or learning to defend myself against supernatural threats.

Drink of Choice:  If they put Diet Coke in an I.V. bag, I’d consume it intravenously.

Favorite Food:  Pretty much anything I didn’t have to cook for myself, but I especially love Chinese food and pizza.

Favorite Song: When I was little, my dad would put on his old Bill Withers’s record and dance me around the living room to “Ain’t no Sunshine.” I’ve had a special place in my heart for that song ever since. Who knew Bill Withers was a prophet and that we all should have been taking that song a lot more literally.

Choice of Transportation:  I drove an old Honda Civic back home in North Carolina, but since I’ve been in Alaska, I’ve been getting around in my brother’s ancient Toyota 4Runner.

Best Memory to Date:  I have a picture of me and my brother standing together in the surf at Kure Beach when we were little kids. It was one of the best days of my life—the sun was out, the weather was perfect, we swam and built sandcastles and fished. That night we set off fire crackers and ate so many steamed shrimp my stomach ached. Any time grief starts to overwhelm me, I think of that trip and my brother and how much fun we had, and I always feel better.

Words to live by:  "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off."  ~ Gloria Steinem ~

 

 

 

 

Karissa and Bonnie

 

 

Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you'll find her on the slopes.

 

Links

 

Goodreads *** Facebook *** Website***Twitter***Pinterest

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Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/feature-friday-karissa-laurels-midnight-burning-excerpt-guest-post
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text 2017-04-25 23:13
SnoopyDoo's Feature Friday

 

 

 

 

Starting in May, SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews, will starting "Feature Friday ".

Each Friday we will be highlighting one author and their book. We will have interviews, excerpts, author guest posts and other fun things to come.

It is very similar to the  blog tours except it will be exclusively post here on SnoopyDoo's.

I thought it might be a fun way to maybe get to know some  more new authors and books.

For now I will have it going on for May and June but I might keep it up if the interest is there for both reader and authors.

Let me know what you think or if you have any other ideas.

 

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Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/snoopydoos-feature-friday
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