Thursday, July 9, 2020

Review: A Is For Apple (A Snow White Anthology)



*I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review*

 

This is a super fun and very unique collection of Snow White retellings! I thought I would do a short review on each of the stories in this anthology:

 

The Poet’s Missing Daughter (Phoenix Xiao): I really liked the Chinese setting to this one, I thought that made for an interesting basis for a Snow White story. I also really liked the investigative narrative; again, very unique feel. Also loved Lotus! It was a bit of a vague retelling, and I might not have recognized it as a Snow White story reading it by itself, but I still enjoyed it a lot.

 

The Kingdom of the Mirror (Julian Barr): This was a really cool retelling. I liked seeing Snow White written as a high fantasy and was also intrigued by the fact it was told from the Queen’s perspective. This actually made her into a rather sympathetic character over all since we got a background and reason for her motives. Would really be intrigued to see where the story went from here.

 

Snow White and the Silent Death (J. W. Atkinson): This was a really cool story because we got some of Snow White’s POV while she was in the coma. The idea that she was in some sort of purgatory during this time where lost souls of those killed by the queen are fighting a constant war was a really interesting and unique concept. Also one that I feel adds a lot to the story and climax and to Snow White’s personality. I really liked Peli and was happy that Snow got to be reunited with her mother again, if only briefly.

 

Skin Deep (Mark Hood): This was an interesting modern take on Snow White but, ultimately, not my cup of tea. I do like how it read like an exposé but it felt like reading exactly that, like one of the hundreds of exposés that come out of YouTube drama. That being said, it was very realistic because of that and the beauty community is pretty apropos for a Snow White retelling. Good story, well done, just not for me.

 

The Many Failures of Evil (Marlene Simonette): This was a dark and rather creative retelling. I am also fond of retellings that kind of mix around typical tropes to make a new story and this one turned out very interesting. I especially liked the characters and the cursed nature of the land. Quite a lot of interesting elements went into this one, both in the fantasy aspect and the rather more psychological aspect as well. A Very dark and intriguing story, overall enjoyed it.

 

A Fruitful Heist (Robyn Sarty): I’m always a fan of heist stories and really enjoyed seeing these elements mixed into a Snow White story. I really liked the modern fusion for this one and the ‘apple’ being the prize for the heist. My only complaint for this one is that I would have liked to see more of it.

 

Conclusion: Overall, a really fun collection of some genuinely unique retellings of Snow White. I read a lot of retellings so it’s always nice to find ones that still feel fresh. Would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves retellings and is looking for a fun, quick summer read!





Tuesday, May 5, 2020

THE LAST GLADIATOR by Daniel Ottalini

Hey guys! Today I'm sharing Daniel Ottalini's new novella from his Steam Empire Chronicles The Last Gladiator. If you haven't read any of his books before, they are a steampunk take on the Roman Era and are super cool!



What makes a gladiator? Brawn? Showmanship? Skill? Heart? 
For Lucia Rhodanus Fortem, the arena is a ticket to fame, fortune, and belonging. 

But the long familiar arena is changing, and gladiators are, quite literally, a dying breed. Their replacements – Mechagladiators – piloted constructs made of the best Roman technology, stand ready to take their place on the hard packed dirt of the Coliseum.
What human can stand against the tide of progress? Who dares face down a mechanical beast? How can the power of human connection forge a bond stronger than steel?

The last gladiator in Rome faces the toughest challenge of all in this prequel novella for the Steam Empire Chronicles, Daniel Ottalini’s Roman Alternate History World.


If you like Gladiator combat, class struggle, Roman history, alternative history, and love in a time of conflict, these books are for you!

Purchase Links


If you haven't read these books yet, the first is the series, Brass Legionnaire is free right now on Smashwords so grab a copy HERE

Other Links

Friday, April 24, 2020

An Interview with Lysander and Flynn







The Bentley pulls up at the radio station and Sinclair gets out to open the door. Sir Lysander the Righteous Man and Oliver Flynn step out of the back and enter the station where they are directed to the recording room. 
            There is tea on the table, waiting for them as they take their seats. The Interviewer comes in and sits down across from them, pouring her own cup of tea as she sets a stack of papers down on the table.
            “Is everyone ready?” she asks.
            “Of course,” Flynn smiles as he plucks his cup from the table. “Thank you so much for inviting us today.”
            “Oh, it’s our pleasure, I’m sure everyone is looking forward to hearing what you have to say.” The Interviewer turns to the man in the sound booth. “We’re ready to go on.”
            He nods and does a count down.
            The Interviewer smiles. “Hello, London, we’re live here today with Sir Lysander, the King’s Righteous man and Oliver Ha—”
            “Ah, I prefer to go by Flynn, miss.”
            “Oh, of course, I apologize,” the Interviewer says, a bit flustered. “As you know we’re here today to talk a little about this book of yours.”
            Flynn smiles as Lysander gives a longsuffering look. “Ah, yes, well, as you know, it is my first publication, but I quite enjoyed the process of writing it.”
            “I think the question everyone wants to know is, whether it’s all true?” the Interviewer asks.
            Flynn grins and touches his nose. “Everything, of course.”
            “Aside from some poetic license,” Lysander adds.
            “Some small cases of poetic license—as all good writers know is necessary,” Flynn corrects.
            “Well, poetic license or not, it is certainly an astounding story,” the Interviewer sips her tea. “Quite revealing.”
            “You’d be surprised what I didn’t allow him to put in,” Lysander says. “National security and all that.”
            Flynn sighs and leans back in his chair. “Yes, I did have to omit a couple things, but I think the story itself survived as is.”
            “And everyone here highly encourages those to read it as a lost tale of our recent history,” the Interviewer says as she takes up the sheets of paper again. “We have a few questions people have written in with.”
            “Perfect! Ask away!” Flynn says, picking up his tea.
            The Interviewer glances at the paper. “These are from Deborah: “What is your favorite kind of music?”
            “I used to like Classical,” Lysander says blandly. “Now I’m a little weary of it.”
            “I like 2000s rock, and 1980s music is good too,” Flynn says. “And Lysander does keep soundtracks to his favorite movies. Lots of Star Wars…”
            Lysander shrugs. “That is true. I do like soundtrack music.”
            “How about your favorite animal?”
            “Oh, cats, definitely,” Flynn says. “They are the best companions. And a cat’s purring is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety. Can you get better than that? What about you, Lysander?”
            “I like dolphins, actually.”
            “They’re psychopaths,” Flynn comments.
            “You could say the same about cats.”
            “Cats can be sociopathic, there’s a difference, and it’s really only an act—they’re still high-functioning.” He folds his arms across his chest. “But whatever. Strong, silent types and their dolphin obsession…”
            “How about your idea of a perfect day?” the Interviewer cuts in, seeing that this could get out of hand quickly.
            “Well, I am usually quite content relaxing in my flat—with my cat—a good book, and a cup of hot, dark tea. Nothing quite like that,” Flynn smiles.
            “Well,” Lysander adds, “I suppose my idea of a perfect day would be one where I didn’t have to worry about anything and actually could relax. I might even pick up a book myself.”
            “But you can’t curl up with a dolphin,” Flynn comments.
            “I regret saying anything about the dolphins,” Lysander growls.
            The Interviewer flips her page. “These questions are from Sarah: First of all is what are the best and worst things about each other?”
            “Oh, here we go,” Lysander says, looking like he’s battening down the hatches. 
            Flynn grins and sips his tea. “Well, obviously, Lysander’s personality is the worst thing about him. Since he can never show what he’s feeling—except anger, he’s very good at that. But if he’ll promise never to repeat that I said this ever again, I have to admit that he’s very loyal.”
            Lysander smirks slightly and takes a drink of his own tea. “Flynn is annoying to a fault, but he’s good at what he does, and, dare I say it, smarter than me—on occasion.”
            “Well, don’t act like the compliments are being dragged out of you on the rack or anything,” Flynn scoffs, but also smiles like a pleased cat.
            “On a similar topic, who do you think has the best hair?” the Interviewers asks.
            “Oh, me of course, I actually do something with it,” Flynn instantly jumps in.
            “You don’t do anything with it, look at it,” Lysander accuses. “It’s a complete mess.”
            “It’s strategically rakish—that’s what the ladies like,” Flynn protests. 
            “It’s strategically ridiculous, is what it is.”
            “You’re just mad because I don’t have to spent fifteen minutes to get it to look like anything but a rats’ nest in the morning.”
            “I do not take that long with my hair…”
            The Interviewer sighs and signals for a commercial break.
***
Back on air, things have settled down. Sinclair brings more tea and the interview continues.
            “Another question we for you is possibly even more controversial than the hair,” the Interviewer says almost hesitantly. “But we at the station are curious: who is your favorite Doctor?”
            “Ah!” Flynn smiles. “A good question!”
            “Well, I like Ten,” Lysander says. “Though the show did pick up again with Twenty-Two, I’ll admit that.”
            “Ugh, how basic,” Flynn scoffs. “First the obvious choice and then modern Doctor Who? No, I do like both Ten and Eleven, but I have to go classic. Four is my favorite. Frankly anything but Thirteen.”
            “Well, I think most people can agree there,” Lysander shrugs. 
            “We have time for one more question before we go,” the Interviewer says. “What is next for you two?”
            “I’m doing what I have always done,” Lysander says with a shrug. “Keeping my country safe, serving my king.”
            “And I’m essentially doing what I’ve always done too, more or less,” Flynn says. “Just…different application.”
            The Interviewer smiles and folds her hands in front of her. “Thank you for agreeing to the interview today. I hope our listeners will take the time to read your book.”
            “Of course, we enjoyed being here,” Flynn smiles. “At least I did.”
            Lysander nods in agreement.
            “One thing before you go,” the Interviewer asks, reaching down to her side. “Could you sign my copy of the book?”
            Flynn grins and Lysanders sighs, running a hand over his face. 
            “Of course, my dear,” Flynn tells her and accepts the pen Sinclair instantly offers. “Anyone else?”
            The interview concludes and Sir Lysander and Flynn leave to go back to duty as the sun shines down on London and its protectors. 
            



Links


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It's also the final day to get a free copy of "The Butler's Story" and to enter the giveaway!




Thursday, April 23, 2020

Lysander and Flynn's Bizarre Concerto (Character Art!)


So...I've kind of gotten obsessed lately with the anime/manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and I really love the art style of it because it's more comic book-esque than a lot of anime, so I recently started to try out that style for myself, which I've been having so much fun with I decided to do my own characters in the same style ^_^  (If you're not familiar with JoJo, it's kind of known for it's over the top poses. I didn't go all out, but we still have some dramatic action shots going on here XD)

So I hope you enjoy these pictures and the time-lapse video I did of myself drawing Lysander


Flynn (Eidolon) 





 Sinclair




Lysander



(Sorry for the quality of this video, I don't have a tripod for my phone so I had to set it on a stack of books which didn't work out very well XD)






Wednesday, April 22, 2020

WINTER SPELL Tour stop & Character Interview with Tonya


A half-breed faery. A war-weary princess. A quest to free three kingdoms from the deadly winter spell. 

Constantly doubted by her ocean faery kindred, Tonya Freyr-dottir only wants to untangle the dormant ice and water magic within her. Then a strange attack makes her unleash a fierce winter on the land and sea. And she has no idea how to stop it.
Princess Diane serves faithfully at her brother’s side, trying to restore their kingdom of Myrnius after the devastating Dark War. Now with brutal winter wreaking havoc, everything they have worked for might be lost to famine and destruction.
Desperate to help, Tonya travels to the far north to unlock her magic, aided by Diane, as well as two land faeries: Dorian, a reckless healer and August, a mischievous warrior. But the north brings fresh dangers, unearths old wounds, and offers more questions than answers.
With doom threatening human and faery alike, Tonya must find a way to trust her new friends and release her magic before all fall to the fury of winter’s spell.
~~~~~~~

Today, I am taking the time to interview one of the characters from this book, Tonya! 

Thanks for joining us for this interview today, Tonya! First of all, can you tell us a little about what it’s like to be part of two faerie races? …If this isn’t too sensitive of a question.

Tonya: Well, not really. I’m used to it by now. It’s….different. Other faeries tend to look down on me because I’m not a “full” ice faery or ocean faery. So I haven’t really figured out where I belong yet. 

I can imagine that’s difficult. I know there are a lot of rumors going around about why the land is frozen. What do you think is really going on?

Tonya: *fidgets* It was actually me. I didn’t think I had ice magic, but then something attacked me and, I guess I do have ice magic because the ocean and continent is frozen…

Oh dear! Well, that can hardly be your fault. I did hear you and several others were going on a quest to figure out how to fix it though. What do you think of your traveling companions? 

Tonya: *looks infinitely more relieved* I really like them! Diane is wonderful and the first human that I’ve really met, and I think we’re on the way to becoming friends. Which I’ve never really had before…August makes me laugh all the time. I didn’t think there could be someone with so much energy. And Dorian *blushes again*, he’s helping me to try and figure out some magic. 

Sounds like you’re all getting along quite well, and that’s very kind of Dorian to help you train with your magic. Now that you’ve left the ocean for the first time, do you find you prefer being in the snow to when you were living under water?

Tonya: The ice and snow seem more familiar, even though I’ve lived in the ocean my entire life. I just feel more…settled…when I’m in the snow. A part of me will always love the water, but I think that I like the land the best. 

I can understand that. Could you maybe tell us a little about your magical abilities?

Tonya: Well…I don’t really have any magical abilities. I can do a little bit of magic with the water, but only get hints of northern ice magic. Mostly it just comes as thoughts and feelings that I know things about the north even though I’ve never been there. Though since Dorian has been helping me, I can do a teeny bit of magic with snow. 

I’m sure you’ll find your ability grows the more you practice! What is the first thing you want to do once you and your friends figure out how to unfreeze the land?

Tonya: Explore everything about the land!! Diane mentioned something about exploring the different types of food in all the countries, and that sounded very interesting as food on land is delicious! Especially if Dorian and August get to come along as well. 

That definitely sounds like it would be a fun trip! Thanks for chatting with us, Tonya, I wish you luck on your journey!




Winter Spell will be released Tomorrow! (April 23rd) and you can find out more about Tonya and the others by reading the book.
Also, if you order a copy (either e-book or paperback) between now and May 7th, you can get a swag pack!
Pre-order goodies include a character art postcard of four characters from Winter Spell done by @h.s.j._williams, a series bookmark, and northern lights sticker! Submit receipt to campitorpress@gmail.com
photo by Claire M. Banschbach

Author Bio: 
Claire M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent hobbit if she wasn’t so tall. She’s an overall dork, pizza addict, and fangirl. When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric Physical Therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually has to grow up.
She writes New Adult/Adult fantasy as C.M. Banschbach.
Find her on:


Winter Spell is book 3 in the Faeries of Myrnius series, but can be read as a standalone. However, series is best enjoyed in chronological order. 


Giveaway!
Click HERE to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for Ebooks and Swag Packs!

Take Part in the Winter Spell IG Photo Challenge for more chances to win prizes!

Claire will also be doing a Live Q&A with me tomorrow on Instagram, so make sure to check that out!



Monday, April 20, 2020

THE NEW EMPEROR'S CONCERTO Blog Tour




It's time for the official blog tour for my newest book, The New Emperor's Concerto! I've got a lot of fun stuff lined up for this week, and I hope you will all join in on it, including the Instagram photo challenge, and the live Q&A I will be doing on Thursday with Claire Banschbach (who is also touring with her new book, Winter Spell, this week!)


Follow the official schedule to see what's going on:

Monday 4/20
Tour Intro- Here at Character Purgatory

Tuesday 4/21

Wednesday 4/22

Thursday 4/23


Friday 4/24


Don't forget to join in on the Instagram Photo Challenge!


Post your photos for the prompts with #ConcertoPhotoChallenge and enter to win these prizes:
One person will get a signed paperback and swag pack, and another will get an ebook copy and swag pack!
(Swag pack includes two bookmarks an, art print, and a letter from the author)


And don't forget to tune in to the live Q&A I will be doing with Claire Banschbach where we talk about our new releases!



The Butler's Story a prequel short story, is also free this week! So grab a copy HERE




You can also enter a giveaway for the same prizes as I'm giving away for the photo challenge. One person will receive a signed copy and swag pack and the another will receive an ebook and swag pack.




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Links


Get a Copy of Concerto




If you subscribe to me on Ko-fi this month you will get to read an exclusive sneak preview of the next book in the Concerto series, Requiem in Red as well as view past exclusive subscriber content.