Author Interview: Nicholas Eames

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Today I am interviewing Nicholas Eames, debut author of the new fantasy novel, Kings of the Wyld, first book of The Band series.

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DJ: Hey Nicholas! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Nicholas Eames: Hi! Thanks for having me—I really appreciate it. A bit about me? I love books (obviously) but I also love video games, history, and hockey (I’m Canadian, after all). I’ve been an ‘aspiring’ writer for a long time, and getting published is quite literally my biggest dream come true.

DJ: What is Kings of the Wyld about?

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Nicholas: It’s about five retired mercenaries who reunite to rescue the daughter of their leader, who is trapped in a city under siege. The setting is loosely allegorical of the golden age of classic rock, wherein mercenary ‘bands’ are afforded the celebrity status of rock stars. They have managers, are booked for ‘gigs’ (slaying monsters, saving towns, etc.) and are accompanied by bards, who are responsible for increasing their notoriety. Beyond the basics, however, it’s a book about the bonds of friendship, and the loyalty we have for those we love.    

DJ: What were some of your influences for Kings of the Wyld, and The Band series?

Nicholas: Book-wise, Ready Player One was a huge influence, because despite its subject matter (which is geared toward a niche audience) it was told with such passion and excellent pacing that its appeal goes far beyond its intended targets. That’s something I tried to do with KINGS as well. Joe Abercrombie, Sebastien de Castell, and Scott Lynch are also favorites of mine, as they all combine ‘epic’ fantasy with humor and heart.

That said, KINGS was inspired primarily by music. Its characters represent the typical members of a rock band (right down to the axe-man) and many of its scenes were directly influenced by specific songs. There’s a fairly detailed ‘soundtrack’ on my website for those wishing to find out more. Continue reading

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Top Reads of 2016! 4.5 Star Books

Throughout the month of February, I will posting various “best of” lists, ranging from  my top 5, 4.5 and 4 star reads of 2016!

Today, I am happy to announce my…

Top Reads of 2016! 4.5 Star Books


 4. In the Shadow of the Gods (Bound Gods #1) by Rachel Dunne

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About the Book:

A breathtaking talent makes her debut with this first book in a dark epic fantasy trilogy, in which a mismatched band of mortals, led by violent, secretive man, must stand against a pair of resentful gods to save their world.

Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the “Twins” grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire-lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked, until now.

Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.

When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.

These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should Read It: Multiple POVs and compelling characters; intertwining plots, story with a large scope; great prose, and a vast world with wonderful and creative world building. All the ingredient you need to make a epic fantasy trilogy that fans will devour.

Read My Review


3. Dragon Hunters (The Chronicles of the Exile #2) by Marc Turner

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About the Book:

The sequel to When the Heavens Fall features gritty characters, deadly magic, and meddlesome gods

Once a year on Dragon Day the fabled Dragon Gate is raised to let a sea dragon pass into the Sabian Sea. There, it will be hunted by the Storm Lords, a fellowship of powerful water-mages who rule an empire called the Storm Isles.

Emira Imerle Polivar is coming to the end of her tenure as leader of the Storm Lords, but she has no intention of standing down graciously. As part of her plot to hold on to power, she instructs an order of priests known as the Chameleons to sabotage the Dragon Gate. There’s just one problem: that will require them to infiltrate an impregnable citadel that houses the gate’s mechanism — a feat that has never been accomplished before.

But Imerle is not the only one intent on destroying the Storm Lord dynasty. As the Storm Lords assemble in answer to a mysterious summons, they become the targets of assassins working for an unknown enemy. And when Imerle sets her scheme in motion, that enemy uses the ensuing chaos to play its hand.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It:  I have yet to come across a book that has given the same feeling that A Game of Thrones did when I first read it, but Dragon Hunters is closest I have found.

I willing to bet that Marc Tuner will end up writing on hell of a series someday that will be on many “best of” lists for many years to come 😉

Read My Review


 2. The Republic of Thieves (Gentlemen Bastards Sequence #3) by Scott Lynch

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About the Book:

Men are more easily broken than myths.

Emperor Cynead has usurped command of the Memoridons—Tower-controlled memory witches—and consolidated his reign over the Syldoonian Empire. After escaping the capital city of Sunwrack, Captain Braylar Killcoin and his Jackal company evade pursuit across Urglovia, tasked with reaching deposed emperor Thumarr and helping him recapture the throne. Braylar’s sister, Soffjian, rejoins the Jackals and reveals that Commander Darzaak promised her freedom if she agreed to aid them in breaking Cynead’s grip on the other Memoridons and ousting him.

Imperial forces attempt to intercept Braylar’s company before they can reach Thumarr. The Jackals fight through Cynead’s battalions but find themselves trapped along the Godveil. Outmaneuvered and outnumbered, Braylar gambles on some obscure passages that Arki has translated and uses his cursed flail, Bloodsounder, to part the Godveil, leading the Jackals to the other side. There, they encounter the ruins of human civilization, but they also learn that the Deserters who abandoned humanity a millennium ago and created the Veil in their wake are still very much alive. But are they gods? Demons? Monsters?

What Braylar, Soffjian, Arki, and the Jackals discover beyond the Godveil will shake an empire, reshape a map, and irrevocably alter the course of history.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should It: I believe that the developed and arc of Salyard’s characters throughout the entire Bloodsounder’s Arc trilogy perfectly exemplifies how Salyar’s talent as a writer has improved.

A MUST-READ series from an up-and-coming author!

Read My Review


1. The Providence of Fire (Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne) by Brian Staveley

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About the Book:

Brian Staveley’s The Providence of Fire, the second novel in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a gripping new epic fantasy series.

The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.

Having learned the identity of her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, renegade member of the empire’s most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.

Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Why You Should Read It: This was why I nominated Brian Staveley for the 2016 John W. Campbell Award

This novel was fast-paced! I could not put it down! Except for the time I damn near threw my book across the room! 😄

Read My Review

-DJ

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Book Review: The Seer by Sonia Orin Lyris

The Seer by Sonia Orin Lyris

Publisher: Baen

Publication Date: March 1, 2016

Edition: Paperback, 656 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5


The Seer is a masterpiece of Epic Fantasy in the vein of The Game of Thrones.
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Author Interview: S.C. Stokes

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Today I am interviewing S.C. Stokes, author of the new fantasy novel, When the Gods War, sequel to A Coronation of Kings.

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DJ: Hey Sam! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

S.C. Stokes: Hey DJ, thanks for the invite. I’m a relatively new Author, When The Gods War is my second novel with many more still to come! I live in Brisbane Australia. I love to read, write and live Fantasy. I participate in a Live Action Role Play group where I don armour and sword and do battle on a regular basis. I just love the Fantasy genre and everything that comes with it.

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(I’m the chap in silver on the left)

DJ: What is When the Gods War about?

S.C.: When The Gods War is a struggle of survival for the people of Andara. Yaneera Empress of Andara, inherits an empire in the grip of famine. Determined and desperate Yaneera fights to save her people.

With her neighbours combining against her Yaneera is faced with a new threat.

Jonas, Disciple of the God Mythos appears in her court. In one hand he offers salvation from the famine and drought afflicting the land, but with the other he requires a price. One that Yaneera may not wish to pay.

As rival Gods fight for supremacy, Yaneera and her people are swept into a conflict where the stakes are victory or death.

DJ: What were some of your influences for When the Gods War?

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S.C.: Life was my inspiration for this novel. I think that the laboratory of life finds all of us thrust into circumstances (often beyond our control). On the uncertain playing field of life, each of us battle daily to improve our circumstances, find happiness or some days just keep our heads above water.

I tried to draw on that concept when writing this book. When The Gods War is less about who is Good/Bad etc but more a story of many kingdoms and people each trying to succeed in an uncertain world.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?

S.C.: Yaneera – She is young and clever and applies those gifts to try and survive the turbulent politics of her Empire. At her heart is a desire to help her people. I think her struggle will resonate with a lot of readers.

Syrion Listar – Is one of the central figures of my series. He has an affinity with magic and is a member of the Astarii (a race of humans, who have been given great gifts to aid them in helping and protecting the worlds they watch over as Guardians). Syrion’s particular gift is the ability to shape shift into a Golden Dragon. My readers tell me they enjoy these scenes tremendously. I have to say I enjoy them too. Continue reading

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Top Reads of 2016! 4 Star Books

Throughout the months of February and March, I will posting various “best of” lists, ranging from  my top 5, 4.5 and 4 star reads of 2016, to the best quotes, and my favorite foodie quotes!

Today, I am happy to announce my…

Top Reads of 2016! 4 Star Books


 4. Scavenger: A.I. (Sand Divers #2) by Timothy C. Ward

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About the Book:

Hundreds of years ago a nanotech virus nearly wiped out humanity. The kernel of that technology has been locked in a buried military and guarded from warlords and tyrants by a class of sentries. Divemaster Rushing Stenson and his wife Star thought their journey underground would lead to the discovery of the ancient city of Danvar. Instead, they resurrected a power perfect for the tyrant that put them there. He plans to use this self replicating technology to rebuild America and give life eternal to those loyal to his empire.

In Scavenger: A.I., Rush, Star and their crew of survivors see an opportunity to use this power to defend their new territory and rewrite the course of their lives and country in a way that would make their children proud. However, as they discover the oddities of this power, it may be too late to reverse the evolution they’ve seen within. And some aren’t interested even if they could. Even if what they’re becoming is too much like the tyrants they’re fighting.

As the nanotech and infusion of the power source they’ve uncovered changes Rush and Star, they are tempted with the chance of bringing their deceased newborn back to life. Will this child be the one they knew, and if not, how far into dangerous territory will they go to force what shouldn’t be?

Inspired by the world of Sand by Hugh Howey and written with his permission. This stand alone series takes the action of Mad Max: Fury Road and injects it into a hostile environment catered to fans of Alien.

My Rating: 4/5

Why You Should Read It: Timothy C. Ward has talent for writing sympathetic characters and creating imaginative sci-fi technology.

Read My Review

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Book Review: Hellknight (Pathfinder Tales #32) by Liane Merciel

Hellknight (Pathfinder Tales #32) by Liane Merciel

Publisher: Tor

Publication Date: April 5, 2016

Edition: Paperback, 432 pages

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Mystery

Rating: 3.5/5


Do I want to read more Pathfinder Tales? HELL YES.
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Author Interview: Brenda Cooper

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Today I am interviewing Brenda Cooper, award-winning author of the new dystopian, science-fiction novel, POST. Brenda is a technology professional, a futurist, and a writer.

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DJ: Hey Brenda! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Brenda Cooper: I’m a westerner – I grew up in California and then migrated north to Washington State, where trees and water and wild things surround me. I’m near Seattle, which is one of the best cities in the nation. I have over ten novels out, and well over 50 stories, and a fistful of poems. I love writing, dogs, and wrestling with the future in my work.

DJ: What is POST about?

Brenda: POST is about a journey and an incredible and unexpected friendship.

DJ: What were some of your influences for POST?

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Brenda: For one, it’s a conversation with Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I hated The Road. Oh, it’s brilliantly written and touching, but it’s also unrelentingly dark. So I set out to write a travel story that’s lighter and brighter, in spite of the fact that there are dark people and dark events in POST. At heart, I’m an optimist, and I wanted to create an optimistic take on a future that we may very well face.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?

Brenda: The two main characters are Sage and Monday. Fun fact: The working title for the book was “Sage Monday.”

Sage grew up in a completely insular community where she was hidden from the world and taken care of. She knows a lot about plants, and notices things about the natural world. She is also quite curious and stupidly naïve. Her curiosity drives her to leave her safe place and follow an airplane to find out about the world. Monday, on the other hand, grew up in tough towns and knows far more about threats and how to deal with them. Monday starts out trying to ditch Sage, but then Monday herself gets into trouble…. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Development of The Dead Among Us an Urban Fantasy Series by J. L. Doty

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In late 2016 Jim finished his 11th SF&F novel, The Witch of Val d’Ossa, and with the release in early 2017 of Never Dead Enough, the 3rd book in The Dead Among Us, he has ten published SF&F books. He’s been unusually successful as a self-published writer; Child of the Sword went word-of-mouth viral about three years ago, and among all his self-published books he has since sold close to 60,000 copies. With that success, he was able to quit his day-job as a running-dog-lackey for the bourgeois capitalist establishment, and work for himself as a fulltime writer. He says his new boss is a real jerk. The self-pub success also led to traditional contracts with Open Road Integrated Media, and Harper Collins Voyager.

Jim is also a scientist with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering; his specialty is laser physics. He has a big pet peeve regarding lasers as weapons in science fiction. He spent decades working in the laser and electro-optics industry, even did some research on laser weapons in the 80’s. And when writers use a laser as a weapon in a story, they invariably get it wrong, usually by violating some basic law of physics. Jim gives a presentation on laser weapons, and what writers do wrong—no names please.

Jim was born in Seattle, but he’s lived most of his life in California, though he did live on the east coast and in Europe for a while. He now resides in Arizona with his wife Karen and three little beings who claim to be cats: Tilda, Julia and Natasha. But Jim is certain they’re really extra-terrestrial aliens in disguise.

Science has always been a passion of Jim’s, but writing is an addiction. In April 2016, Of Treasons Born, the prequel to A Choice of Treasons, was published by Open Road Integrated Media, and in August The Thirteenth Man was published by Harper Collins Voyager. He just finished The Witch of Val d’Ossa, the first book in The Valley of Bones series. Right now he’s working on By Treason Forged, the 2nd book in The Treasons Cycle, The BlackSword Regiment, a new military science fiction series, and the 2nd book in The Valley of Bones.

Jim intends to keep on writing and publishing more stories, but no laser weapons.


Development of The Dead Among Us
an urban fantasy series

by J. L. Doty

I’ve been asked a few times how I came up with the storyline for The Dead Among Us, my urban fantasy series, and I had to stop and think a bit to recall the process. I’d been writing traditional fantasy and hard science fiction for years, and I was ready to try something different, something in a contemporary, urban style of speculative fiction. I began with the concept that wizards, witches, demons, and all the denizens of Faerie, are living among us, but hidden in plain sight, and we mundane mortals are completely ignorant of their presence. One goal I set for myself was to write something that would be a fun read, though not a comedy.

I looked carefully at Irish, English, Scottish and Celtic folklore, and delved into demonology as it is depicted in various religions and cultures. That provided the inspiration to develop my own spin on the supernatural, which evolved into the Three Realms: the Netherworld, the Mortal Plane, and Faerie. The Dragon Realm is a mythical fourth realm, but since no one has ever been there, or met a dragon, everyone believes it’s pure legend.

As many other urban fantasy writers have done, in Faerie I adopted the Seelie and Unseelie Courts of Scottish folklore, though King Ag and Queen Magreth are my own fictitious characters. The non-aligned fey, the assassin Sabreatha of the black fey, and the whole concept of Leprechauns as neutral arbiters in the constant strife between the Summer and Winter Courts, are inventions of my own twisted mind. I must admit I had fun with Leprechaun’s names like Jim’Jiminie, Boo’Diddle and Dan’Dandio, and they provided a nice counterpoint to the more serious moments.

With regard to the Netherworld I needed some sort of hierarchy for demon rank, so I created a cast structure. At the bottom are non-caste demons like imps, succubuses and incubuses. Next are Tertuis cast, weak-willed creatures that, if physically manifest on the Mortal Plane, will feed on mortal souls in an uncontrolled frenzy. That invariably draws the attention of mortal wizards, and the Tertius is hunted down and annihilated rather quickly. A Secundus cast is stronger, will feed carefully, remain hidden, and with caution, might reside on the Mortal Plane for centuries, eventually building up enough strength to appear human. The most dangerous of all are the Primus caste, basically the nine princes of hell. The last time a Primus physically manifested on the Mortal Plane, the Roman Empire fell, and civilization plunged into the dark ages.

Enter our hero and heroine, Paul Conklin and Katherine McGowan, both thirtyish. Some time ago Paul’s wife and little daughter, Suzanna and Cloe, were killed in back-to-back accidents about a month apart. Paul took it hard and crashed emotionally. But he’s doing much better now, because the two have come back to him as ghosts, and are living with him in his San Francisco apartment. Paul knows that ghosts don’t really exist, so he’s pretty certain he’s simply lost all contact with reality and is hallucinating.

Paul is a wizard, but doesn’t know it and is completely ignorant of wizardly ways. When he spontaneously produces a powerful conjuration, he finds himself in a lot of trouble with dominant senior wizards like Katherine’s father, Walter McGowan, and Vasily Karpov and his Russian thugs. The situation is further confounded by the fact that Paul exhibits unusual powers not available to normal, mortal wizards. His strange abilities lead the senior wizards to wonder if Paul is demon possessed, or perhaps a demon himself. Karpov wants to execute Paul first and ask questions later. But Katherine sees two leprechauns help Paul, which they wouldn’t do if he delved into demon magic. So while everyone else is trying to join the let’s-kill-Paul party, Katherine takes his side, teaching him about magic as they try to survive.

I had a lot of fun with this story.

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*** Never Dead Enough is published by Telemachus Press and is available to purchase TODAY!!!! ****

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Buy the Book:

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords


About the Book:

Creepy Serial Killer Guy (SKG) has relocated from Dallas to San Francisco so he can hunt down Paul and Katherine. The demon in his soul can’t rest until it possesses Paul. But in Dallas, Paul and Katherine badly weakened it. So SKG’s master needs to gain strength before attempting to take them. He prowls the streets of San Francisco and the Bay Area looking for more Alices.

While creepy SKG hunts Alices, Vasily Karpov conspires with Ag, King of the Unseelie Court. If they can bring over a monstrous legend from the past, even if it doesn’t kill Paul, they hope to blame him for the damage and destruction, and discredit him with the senior practitioners.

Paul is haunted by thoughts of a powerful rune sword. Anogh, the newly restored Summer Knight, keeps interfering in Paul’s life. Sabreatha, the black fey assassin who tried to kill Paul with the heart arrow, les flèche du coeur, takes an interest in Paul and Katherine. And of course, the Summer Queen and her High Chancellor, Magreth and Cadilus, keep messing in Paul and Katherine’s lives.


 

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Author Interview: Thoraiya Dyer

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Today I am interviewing Thoraiya Dyer, author of the new fantasy novel, Crossroads of Canopy, first book in the Titan’s Forest series.

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DJ: Hey Thoraiya! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

Thoraiya Dyer: Thanks for having me!

DJ: For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Thoraiya: Greetings unfamiliar readers! I’m Australian and I used to be a veterinarian with a special interest in birds. Now I’m a science fiction & fantasy writer. I live in a beautiful beachside suburb of Sydney, I’ve won awards for my short stories in venues such as Clarkesworld and Analog magazines, and my first novel, due out from Tor in the US, Crossroads of Canopy, is imminent. Eep!

DJ: What is Crossroads of Canopy about?

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Thoraiya: An enormous, magical rainforest, some 300 stories high, hosts a vast city in its canopy, with dark, unknown depths below. Unar, our stubborn protagonist, loses her sister into those depths, and the action kicks off with her heading to the Garden to avoid being sold as a slave.

DJ: What is the “Garden” and what does a “Gardener” do?

Thoraiya: There are thirteen goddesses and gods in Canopy. One for each of the thirteen Kingdoms that make up the vast, treetop city. Incarnated as humans, they need homes as well as worship. They live in their Temples. The Garden is the Temple of Audblayin, the goddess of birth and new life. It’s a walled precinct with all the rare flowers, vines and green things from the far reaches of the world, cultivated and irrigated by Gardeners. They are servants of the Temple. They tend the Garden using magic that stems from their connection to the goddess. Continue reading

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Authors to Watch Out For: 2017 Edition

Seeing as how MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape has shifted from book reviews to author interviews, it is very rare that I get write about books and authors that I have read recently (heck, I barely even get to read a book anymore).

Doing interviews with authors about their upcoming books in my way of helping spread the word, but I still feel that a review is more personal and can have a greater impact.

Because of this, I decided to do a “Authors to Watch Out For” list. It is one the same idea and many “Best Debut” lists, except this is going consist of authors that I have read since starting this blog (in 2014), up to now.

The only criteria is that their first novel be released somewhere between 2013 and 2016, or that they have finished their series somewhere in that time frame as well.

Without further ado, here is my list of Authors to Watch Out For!


Rachel Dunne

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Rachel’s debut novel, In the Shadow of the Gods, was releasted in June of 2016; it was one of the best novels I read last year and was a novel that I personally thought had all the ingredients you need to make an epic fantasy trilogy that fans will devour.

Fun-fact: In the Shadow of the Gods, was a semi-finalist for the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and was then picked by Harper Voyager.

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