All posts by Alex McGilvery

Summer Release

My newest release is the third in the Spruce Bay books.

Mines are dangerous, never more so than when greed outweighs everything else.

When a series of events leads to the death of Georgia’s fiance, she packs up and heads south. Behind her Jim and Leigh struggle with their own issues. Training cadets to be special officers in the north sounds good, but when a class gets off track, it could be deadly.

Georgia can’t escape the grief and anger the mine caused with Brad’s death, and when she find echoes of that death in Peru, she sets her sights on making things right. Dangerous men don’t want her to succeed.

Links to buy: books2read.com/u/3L

New(ish) Release

I’ve relased the third in the Belandria Tarot, The Empire Unbalanced.

The series was originally planned to be four books, but the story refused to be contained and it will be five books.

Click on the cover to the right and read a sample of the book and learn where you can purchase it.

I will be looking for beta readers for book four this summer. That means to read the book, then tell me what you don’t like in it. Contact me if you are interested.

Mythical Girls: Kickstarter Campaign is LIve.

You may remember a year or so back a girl found ‘Excalibur’ in Britain, in Dozmary Pool (where the Lady of the Lake lives), you may also remember a few months ago, another girl found a sword in Norway, which immediately made me think of Sigmund’s sword Gramr. This all got me wondering what other mythic weapons might be out there. Turns out there are a lot. So of course I had to wonder what happened if girls around the globe started finding these magical weapons.

The stories have been written they range from the US to Burma to Iran to fantasy worlds. The tales are about swords, bows, bracelets, combs. The one thing they all have in common is courageous heroines.

This is your chance to be part of this anthology in a different way. I’m running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to pay my contributors better. You can check it out here. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alexmcgilvery/mythical-girls

Perks start at $5 for an early bird ebook and range up to $300 for a professional look at that novel you’ve written. Of course there are paperbacks available too.

LITERARY SHIRTS

Some people like going to the mall, theme parks, or maybe for a drive around town, but personally I like curling up in in front of the fire with a really good book. Or sometimes an audiobook. Reading has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Before I could read I was read to. Weekly trips to the library have helped me to experience so many different stories and points of view, from Rudyard Kipling’s adventures in The Jungle Book to stories of an entirely different nature, such Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

I am inspired primarily by books, literature, and authors. A lifetime of stories has helped me understand and comprehend these works of literature to represent them properly as graphics, typography, and color. I also draw a large amount of inspiration from art history. I am particularly drawn to impressionist works, Claude Monet and Edgar Degas are a couple of artist whose inspiration I draw heavily upon.

The dichotomy between visual and written art is something I have always been interested in. The collection of books t-shirts, are sometimes book covers, but often simply visual representations of the novels. Putting together the collection has helped me to comprehend this difference in representational and artistic mediums.

I started with just a few designs and little knowledge of printing, websites, or high level graphics programs. After much trial and error there is now the store you see today. I design each product with care and curate the selection to showcase popular as well as more obscure titles and authors.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading some of reasons why I started this company and what inspired me to do so. If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email at any time. I love hearing from other readers and fans of literature.

For those interested, the code ALEXMCGILVERY20 can be redeemed to discount 20% off on any order. This coupon code does not expire and there is no minimum spend.

Written by Melissa Chan, designer of bookish gifts at Literary Book Gifts

Kumbuya Blues

That summer that everything happened. Bob could have dealt with one disaster. It was the way they piled up in an unending collision of disasters that had him feeling punch drunk. First his son rolled the car.  Scary, but Rick wasn’t hurt and the insurance company was understanding. Then the storm knocked out the power across the entire county and dropped a tree on his boat. He wanted to sell it anyway, but the insurance company was a little less phlegmatic about it. Still, he had fire wood to last him through the next decade.

The robbery at the bank his wife worked at was shocking. No one was hurt – physically, but Marsha was one of several tellers who just couldn’t go back to work. At least the disability was a different insurance company.

While all this was happening Bob still had to keep up with his business. He was an agricultural consultant. He travelled through the entire area helping farmers deal with their stress. Grains were at an all time high, but with oil prices up, so was the cost of fertilizer and running equipment. The meat producers were looking at huge increases in feed cost and wondering if it was time to retire. Bob helped them sit down and look at their options and make decisions that were good for them and their family.

Bob was so busy doing his bit to make the world a better place that he really didn’t have time to deal with the pain in his leg that was nagging at him. After all it wasn’t anywhere near his heart. But it didn’t stop; it got worse. Bob found himself driving with his left leg to ease the pain. After a near miss on the highway when he got his feet tangled while trying to brake, Bob decided it was time to visit the doctor.

The doctor wasn’t encouraging. She told Bob to stay off the road or she would pull his driver’s license and set up an MRI. Rick enjoyed being his dad’s driver for half of the first day. Then it got boring. Bob called his clients and apologized for cancelling, then asked Rick to take them home via the electronic store that stocked his son’s new favourite video game. They bought the game and a hot dog from the vendor to stave off starvation. Peace once again assured, at least for the night they arrived home to find the house surrounded by police cars.

In a panic, Bob hobbled to the door to find his wife in tears and the police packing up. The sergeant took Bob aside to explain that his wife had been sure she had seen the bank robber in the bushes. The police had responded to learn that the neighbour’s son in law was home for a visit and had decided to trim the hedge between their homes. He gave Bob a card to direct him to Victim Services, and suggested a change of scene might be a good idea.

Marsha packed her bags and went off to visit her mother and Rick went with her. Bob agreed an immanent nervous breakdown was much more serious than a pain in the leg, no matter how inconvenient. That’s why he was alone in the house when the pain suddenly flared up and left him screaming in agony on the floor. Fortunately the neighbour’s son in law was finishing up the hedge and heard him. Soon the house was again surrounded by flashing lights while the paramedics carried Bob out and took him to the hospital.

After emergency surgery to remove the gargantuan blood clot in his leg, he talked to Marsha and Rick on the phone and reassured them that he was indeed still alive. Bob was lectured by an endless stream of doctors and nurses about how lucky he was. The social worker was more help. She suggested that he try a convalescent home or similar place rather than burdening Marsha with his care when she needed to do her own work. Bob was looking distastefully at brochures when his boss came in the door.

“You don’t want to go to one of those places,” he pronounced, “They are full of old, sick people. You need to get out in the sun. You want to relax and meet some new people.”

“What do you have in mind?”  Bob asked, his boss always had a plan or several up his sleeve.

“My church runs a camp every summer. They have adults who come as chaplains for the kids. We are short people this summer. You could go sit around in the sun. You get your own cabin, meals and everything. There is even a nurse on site.”

“What would I need to do?” A summer camp certainly sounded more inviting than an old folk’s home.

“Nothing!”  his boss shouted, “That’s the beauty of it. You just sit around and let the kids talk to you if they want.”

“Sounds good. Where do I sign up?” 

So that’s how Bob found himself at Camp Menesetatchi sitting under a tree watching the children play. His leg woke him the first day early in the morning; but the sight of the sun rising over the lake and the numinous cry of a distant loon distracted him from its ache. He got in the habit of sitting on the deck and watching the sunrise. The camp was so good for him that he called and invited Marsha and Rick to come. She was glad to escape the loving but smothering care of her mother. Rick had met the girl next door and decided that Grandma needed him.

So Bob and Marsha sat in the campfire circle and learned to sing the Kumbya Blues. They toasted each other with flaming marshmallows, listened to the songs, laughed at the skits, and began to heal.

This is a story I wrote a few years ago for a contest I didn’t win.


👋

New Book by Lauren H Salisbury: Conviction

I like to highlight other authors now and again. Conviction is Lauren’s second book, a follow up on Courage, a sci-fi reimagining of the story of the birth of Moses. Lauren suggests reading the books in order if possible. They are both available through Amazon, and Kindle Unlimited.

Blurb:

Can two people with opposing principles overcome their differences to be together?

Than has spent his life ostensibly having fun while secretly fighting for his people’s freedom. A member of the underground resistance, he is only ever serious around his comrades and his family. When an injury forces him to step down from active duty and his reluctant nurse sparks his interest, Than finds himself in uncharted territory. The fascinating woman will have nothing to do with him.

Menali’s past has taught her to keep her head down and trust that God has a reason for allowing the human race to suffer on U’du. When Than explodes into her life, he refuses to take no for an answer and challenges all of her preconceptions. He soon has her re-evaluating her priorities and wondering what life with someone like him would be like.

Enter a rafflecopter giveaway.

Author Bio:

Lauren H Salisbury was an English teacher for sixteen years with an MA in Education. She is now a writer who dabbles with tutoring and lives with her husband and a room full of books in Yorkshire, England. She likes to spend winters abroad, following the sunshine and becoming the seasonal envy of her friends. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with family, reading, walking, crafting, or cooking. Courage is her debut novel.

Author Interview

Tell us more about your book.

Conviction is the story of two people who have opposite views on everything but find themselves drawn to the other. They each face challenges in their personal lives and lean on their growing friendship to help them deal with those issues. It’s about learning to look beyond the surface to really get to know someone, and to let go of expectations and opinions when they prove false. It also has a resistance movement bent on freeing the human slaves from their ruthless alien overlords, with a little help from an unexpected source.

Tell us more about yourself. What else have you published?

Conviction is the second book in my debut series, The Legacy Chronicles. Courage was released in February of this year, and the third book, Strength, should be ready by March next year. I started writing seriously after sixteen years as an English teacher, but I’ve always loved to create stories. Publishing this series has been a dream.

What inspired you to write your book?

Conviction is the second book in my Legacy Chronicles series. The series is based on the women in Moses’s life with each book telling one of their stories in a science fiction setting. I’ve always admired these Biblical characters for their faith and courage, and I’ve loved writing about them.

Conviction wasn’t supposed to exist. My mum alpha read the first book, Courage, and kept asking about Than and Menali. As a thank you for all her hard work, I wrote their story for her. It was supposed to be a novella, but it kept growing as I dug deeper into the two characters and found there was a lot more story to tell. Than does have a way of pushing into the centre of things, but Menali surprised me. You’ll have to read it to find out any more.

What are your favourite kinds of stories to read and write?

I like to read all types of stories, from science fiction and fantasy to historical fiction to murder mysteries. There are only a few genres I refuse to read. My absolute favourites are stories where there’s a unique set up or a novel twist on what’s been done before. I also love complex characters that have many layers I can peel back as I get to know them.

I like to write stories that will surprise people, whether that’s in how I’ve reimagined events in a different environment or the links between characters that are slowly revealed through the series. I also want to write stories that will resonate with readers, where they stop and think, “I get how that feels” or “That’s happened to me.”

What is your writing space like?

My office space is extremely organized. I can’t work there when it’s messy. That said, I tend to do most of my writing either outside or sitting on the sofa in the living room, and I usually have at least two notebooks to hand along with a drink, my phone, a snack, and some tissues. It’s not exactly cluttered, but it’s nowhere near as pristine as my actual desk.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m about to start editing the third book in The Legacy Chronicles, Strength. I’m also halfway through writing the fourth and have another series circling my brain. Outside of writing, I’m renovating my house again.

What question would you ask yourself? Answer that question.

Most of the questions I’d ask myself are along the lines of when I’m going to get on with some of the jobs I have to do around the house or on the next manuscript. The one that stands out as different is, “What’s the next film you want to watch at the cinema?”

The answer: Normally, I’d be saying the latest Marvel or sci-fi film, but right now I’m looking forward to the new remake of Little Women. I have such great memories of reading that book, so I’m interested in seeing how they update it.

Links:

Conviction selling page: http://a.co/doeQtkg

Courage selling page: http://amzn.to/2ItzMl4

Email list sign-up form: http://eepurl.com/djCo0z

Website: http://www.laurenhsalisbury.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gillascourage

Aerisia’s Refrain by Sarah Ashwood

Aerisian Refrain

Sarah Ashwood

On Earth, Annie’s voice brought her fame and fortune. In Aerisia, her voice brings her magic, but the cost of that power might mean the destruction of Aerisia itself.

Following the prophesied Artan’s victory over the Dark Powers, the land of Aerisia is finally at rest, until ancient beings, long imprisoned, begin to stir…

Eight years after Annie Richards’ stellar voice and musical talents skyrocketed her from rural Oklahoma to international fame, haunting visions have begun threatening her sanity. While she’s returning to her childhood home to convalesce, creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. Annie wakens in a parallel world, Aerisia. Here, she discovers her musical gifts translate into magical powers—the legacy of a banished race who have been invading her dreams.

Mistrusted by Aerisia’s most powerful factions because of her heritage, Annie finds allies are hard to come by. Supporting her are one Simathe warrior, Cole, who refuses to label her as evil, and one woman willing to stand against anything and anyone to help a friend: the Artan herself. Seizing control of her destiny will mean defying both her ancestors and the Aerisian leaders. Mastering her magic may mean making the greatest sacrifice of all…or risk becoming the reason Aerisia itself is torn apart.

Find Aerisian Refrain on Amazon and Goodreads.

Tell us more about your book.

Aerisian Refrain, my newest book, is the story of a young Native American woman, Annie Richards, whose voice and musical talents have skyrocketed her from a cattle ranch in rural Oklahoma into worldwide fame. However, haunting visions have begun accosting her, making her question her sanity. She’s returning to her childhood home to convalesce when creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. She awakens in a parallel world, Aerisia, where she must not only stay alive, but figure out why she is there and how her musical abilities play into the mystery. Along the way she’ll encounter giants, fairies, immortal warriors, people of the moon, pirates, dragonkind, and more. In the end, she must choose her own destiny, or risk becoming the reason Aerisia itself is torn apart.

Tell us more about yourself. What else have you published?

Well, I’m a homeschooling mom of three boys. I’m a runner—planning to do the Tulsa Run 15k this fall. I’ve done 15ks before, but not this particular one. I’m married to an asphalt plant operator and I literally never know from one day to the next when he’ll be home, because there are no set hours in a job like his. Especially this time of year, in the summer. I’m a writer, of course. So far my published works include a fantasy novella, Amana, my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, several short stories in various anthologies, and now my brand new Beyond the Sunset Lands series.

 What inspired you to write your book?

A few things. I enjoyed the male MC, Cole, so much in my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy where he was a side character that I wanted to tell his story. Also, in this new series, which is sort of a follow up series to my first Aerisia trilogy, I wanted to take a closer look at some of Aerisia’s unique races and their worlds. Aerisian Refrain delves heavily into the world of Aerisia’s fairies, their mysteries and their magic. Lastly, I wanted to explore a connection between music and magic, so I wove all of these elements into this book.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read and write?

I love fairytales, historical fiction, anything based on Greek and Roman mythology, anything set in medieval Europe or ancient Rome, and—of course—fantasy in nearly all its genres. What I love about fantasy is that I can take elements from each of these and weave them into my stories.

What is your writing space like? 

Up until a few weeks ago I usually wrote sitting cross-legged on my bed with my laptop. However, recently a cousin gave me a beautiful antique wooden desk that was so small it fit perfectly into an unused corner in my bedroom. It’s just big enough to hold the essentials and I love it.

 What projects are you currently working on? 

Besides releasing Aerisian Refrain, my next project will be a fun Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale called Knight’s Rebirth, coming in time for Christmas 2018! It’s the story of a famous knight, Sir Buckhunter Dornley, who is content to live alone until he meets the charming and outrageous Princess Mercy. When he discovers Mercy lives under a deadly curse, how far will he go to break it? 

What question would you ask yourself? Answer that question.

 So do you, as an author, ever talk to your characters and do they respond?

Me: I don’t know that I so much as talk to my characters as sit back and observe everything they say and think and do, and then try to guide them in the direction I want them to go. They’re, uh, often pretty resistant, though.

Author Bio

Don’t believe all the hype. Sarah Ashwood isn’t really a gladiator, a Highlander, a fencer, a skilled horsewoman, an archer, a magic wielder, or a martial arts expert. That’s only in her mind. In real life, she’s a genuine Okie from Muskogee who grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma and holds a B.A. in English from American Military University. She now lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and three sons, where she tries to sneak in a daily run or workout to save her sanity and keep her mind fresh for her next story.

Sarah’s works include the Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy and the fantasy novella Amana.

To keep up to date with Sarah’s work and new releases, sign up for her newsletter. You can visit her website, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Listen to me on a podcast.

I connected with a fascinating guy, Colton, who does the Desert Tiger Podcast. We got together a Sunday morning and had a blast talking about writing, music and mental health. I had a bit of a cold, so there’s some coughing there too.

 

I can’t say if it will increase sales, and I’m not really worried about that, but I do know making connections is important. If you’ve always considered starting a podcast, listening to a few is a must. But I’d encourage you to reach out to people and ask to be on their podcast.

On the show, I talk about my newest book The Regent’s Reign and some other books, including some which will never be published.

You can listen here and for those who do, a reward. If you email me the title of my upcoming book for the summer,( It takes place in Spruce Bay and follows after Wendigo Whispers.) I will send you a free ebook of The Regent’s Reign in either mobi (kindle) or epub (everyone else.)

The Regent’s Reign coming soon

Marriette is acting as Regent while King Harald goes on a pilgrimage to atone for his actions. Holding things together for a few months shouldn’t be that hard. Then Harald disappears and treachery grows thick around her. She’s going to have to fight for her life and the future of Belandria.

Release date April 30, 2018.  Advanced reader copies available for reviewers.

Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem

See my review here.

Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem

Jennifer Arnston

Blurb:

Stripped of their birthright and shunned by the people of Ashlund, Una and her family are forced to live on the fringe of society as Scavengers. There is no question that her family’s bond is strong, but the law of the Authority is stronger…and soon it will come to collect her. After all, the family is on borrowed time already.

When a night of torment and truth reveals well kept secrets, Una takes new freedoms – free from the Authority, her family, and possibly her fate. Pulled between the life she’s always known and a world where status and rituals are everything, Una struggles to understand a culture that has rejected all she holds dear. As Atchem comes to an end and she learns who she really is, will Una find the courage to do what it takes to ensure her family’s survival, or will she find the faith to follow her heart?

Author Bio:

Jennifer Arntson

Author, dreamer, and sworn enemy of Caillou

Jennifer Arntson has a long history of crafting tales that people find unbelievable, but often true. As an observer of human and social development through the ages, a curiosity of faith, and dedication to the underprivileged of the developing world, Jennifer finds her creative outlet in stories and fables. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children, and a mini-farm of otherwise useless animals where the family eagerly caters to their every need.

Author Interview:

I read your setting in Scavenger Girl as dystopian, though it doesn’t follow the modern practice of future dystopias. Were you thinking dystopia when you were writing it. What generated the society you created?

I’ve always been drawn to alternative societies, or at least ones that don’t have the benefits of our developments or general advancements. While some people think we behave the way we do because of our collective experience and achievements, I believe our actions are rooted in a more primal-type existence within a given societal structure. I believe that we struggle with the same issues that generations before us wrestled with, and these are the very same themes we will contend with for a millennia. Love, loss, joy, and fear – these basic emotions are timeless and limitless. It doesn’t matter if you have privilege or not. These emotions push us beyond ourselves and either inspire us to be greater than we imagine ourselves to be, or crush us under its unmanageable weight. When writing Scavenger Girl, all I did was change the circumstances. I took away the advantages we have come to know in our own lives, and let the characters survive within a structure of an agrarian, polytheistic theocracy.

The plight of the word ‘dystopian’ is that it paints with a broad brush, but because of our experience with Hollywood’s portrayal, we have been largely led to accept it as a post-apocalyptic or post-nuclear survival story. The definition of dystopian only implies that the world is opposite of perfect, so effectively dystopian means not-perfect. While Scavenger exists within this definition, you won’t find the survivors of war, or the insatiable flesh eating undead. The similarity is that dystopian works create an oppressive framework where characters are unable to pursue their own goals due to the constraints of an all-controlling situation. It could be a government, a superior species, an unnamed enemy, or zombies.

It was my intent to spend a year with a family cut-off from the benefits of living within the accepted social construct of society. Through their eyes, a reader is called to answer pressing questions such as: Is the common life one that should be strived for? What are we sacrificing to fit the status quo, and is it worth it? To explore these questions, the polarity of Scavenger Girl’s world had to be a stark contrast with what we, as the reader, have as an acceptable worldview. That is how Ashlund was formed and Una was born.

This is your first novel you’ve published. How does it feel to see your story in print?

Surreal. It started out as a dream I had one night that I couldn’t shake. To see it transformed into novel is unbelievable! …and it’s kind of awesome to say I did it.

What inspired you to write Scavenger Girl: The Season of Atchem?

This novel would not exist without the combined driving force of my husband and my mom. As I mentioned, it started as a dream and I wrote it down. Soon one page turned into ten, then forty. My mom happened to call and, as usual, she asked what I was doing. I told her and she sounded confused. I offered to send it to her, but not knowing if what I had started was worth finishing, I asked her to tell me if she’d want to read more. Two hours later she called demanding the rest of the story. “I don’t have any more,” I replied. “Then get off the phone and start typing!” Word got to my husband (because honestly, I was a bit embarrassed to tell him I was writing a story that was now over a hundred pages long). He started reading it and encouraged me to finish it. He believed in the work so much that he made sure I had ample writing time, brainstormed ideas, and helped with research when necessary. When people close to us found out what I was doing, they wanted a copy too. Family and friends started discussing it like a ‘real’ book and requests for copies of my work started trickling in. Soon, we had a story that had a life, and following of its own.

 What are your favorite kinds of stories to read and write?

I love stories that give a good book-hangover. These are usually books that make me think about the characters long after the last page is read. I don’t really have a particular genre of choice, which is probably why Scavenger Girl doesn’t fit nicely into any one category.

What is your writing space like?

Ha! Any space is a writing space. I’ve written on the floor next to my kids as they took their bath, in my van while my kids were at camp, and at the kitchen table. I’ve worn out computer keyboards at my desk, the kitchen island, and kicked back on the recliner. I’ve written during my lunch hour, commute time, and nights when I should have been sleeping. Every opportunity that provides a flat surface for my laptop has been a writing space.

What projects are you currently working on?

Too many! The remaining four books of the Scavenger Girl Series are complete and are in various stages of editing. I’m finishing up the final edits to book two of the series, Scavenger Girl – Season of Talium, to get ready for its release in early 2018. Because I love to write, there are a few companion works in progress although they are eagerly awaiting my attention.

 What question would you ask yourself? Answer that question.

With all the technology and options for entertainment, why write?

There is a diminishing opportunity to be creative. Most of our world is designed for us. Clothing, movies, hobbies, food, and media are given to us as either ‘acceptable’ or ‘unacceptable.’ Books unlock creative energy for both the author and the reader without the watchful eye of the gatekeepers. Readers can see the words of an author within the pages of a book and build worlds that belong uniquely to them. The relationship between the storyteller and observer coexist simultaneously, with limitless imagination, yet it’s impossible for me to control what you see inside the story I’ve provided. No two experiences are identical. Even if you read the same book twice, your experience is different each time. The only place you will find this sort of magic is in a book. Why write? Because, I have to. I’ve learned to love the discovery of my own mind over a glowing screen. (Ok, I write on a computer, but you know what I mean.)

Download excerpts from the book:

Season of Atchem Excerpt – The River and the Atchem Gown

Season of Atchem Excerpt – The Authority Visit

Season of Atchem Excerpt – Rebel and the Nobu Forest

Links

 

Website:  www.ScavengerGirl.com

Facebook: facebook.com/ScavengerGirl

Goodreads: goodreads.com/book/show/29509276

Instagram: Scavenger_Girl_Series

Pinterest: pinterest.com/scavengerg

Twitter: (author) @JennArntson

(characters) @Una_Ashlund  @Cal_of_Ashlund  @Mar_of_Ashlund

#IAmAScavenger

Scavenger Girl Season of Atchem ISBN 978-0-9994-133-0-2

Amazon purchase link: goo.gl/zK4yWd