Monthly Archives: February 2017

Book Spotlight: Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid

About the Book

Title: Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid

Author: Dina C. Tate

Genre: Children’s Books, Fantasy

Imagine if all the little girls of the world looked alike.

If the Same Glam Goddess gets her way, it can surely happen.

McKenzie Rivers, the pint-sized daredevil, and Lizzie Sanders, who loves all things frilly, aren’t afraid of being different. And that’s exactly why Princess Lovina of Exquisite City calls upon them to stop the Same Glam Goddess from making all the little girls of the world look the same. With the aid of their magical lovely lockets and fierce diva weaponry, Lizzie and McKenzie will travel the world to find the Seven Crystals of Sisterhood. Their first stop is the magical city of Madrid.

Lizzie and McKenzie will need help to obtain the crystals before the Same Glam Goddess gets her hands on them. If the crystals are not found, little girls all over the world will remain under the spell of the Same Glam Goddess and will lose their identities forever! Will Lizzie and McKenzie be able to find the crystals, break the spell, and stop the Same Glam Goddess?

Author Bio

Dina Tate is the President and Founder of GlobalGirlsSquad LLC a publishing and technology company. Her first book which combines her love of travel and japanese animation is titled “Lizzie and McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures”.

Links

www.globalgirlssquad.com

Buy the Book:

Amazon (Paperback)

Amazon (Hardcover)

B&N

Book Excerpt

The girls walk slowly inside the Crystal Palace. It’s hard not to be distracted by the magnificence, but Lizzie, McKenzie, and Lucia do their best to stay focused. As they proceed to walk inside the place of the palace they see the Mimics, and standing behind them is the Same Glam Goddess.

“Thanks, Twinkle Toes, for that lovely performance earlier. You made getting the crystal that much easier,” says the Same Glam Goddess, laughing at McKenzie.

Lizzie and Lucia each put a hand on McKenzie’s shoulder and give her a tender smile.

“Pick on someone your own age!” Lizzie shouts.

The Same Glam Goddess gives a bold, piercing look and says, “Mimics, take care of them. Their presence offends me.”

The Mimics take out their beauty blasters. McKenzie, Lizzie, and Lucia take out their wands, fire off some darts, and hide behind a display.

A dart hits one of the Mimics square in the back. “Ow!” cries the Mimic. As she tries to nurse the wound in her back, the crystal falls to the ground.

The Same Glam Goddess clenches her fists and shouts, “You fool!”

Lizzie, McKenzie, and Lucia clutch hands and call out, “We know who you are, and we know what you do. You can’t make us the same. Princess Lovina, we need you.”

A golden light comes from the sky and begins to fill the Crystal Palace with rainbow colors.  Princess Lovina appears alongside Lizzie, McKenzie, and Lucia. Calmly, she says to the Same Glam Goddess, “Why are you doing this? You weren’t always this way. I remember when you were nice.”

The Same Glam Goddess clutches the Friendship Freeze Ray for dear life. “Maybe we were friends, but that was long ago.” A hurt expression covers her face. “Piggy Princess they called me, because of my flat nose. It may not have been you, Princess Lovina, but that does not matter. Now, I am fierce and everyone fears me. Those days are over!” shrieks the Same Glam Goddess as she aims the Friendship Freeze Ray at them.

Princess Lovina turns to the girls and says, “Let’s take care of her together!” Princess Lovina uses her Same Silencer, and Lucia, Lizzie, and McKenzie fire their wands.

Whoosh! An army of colors surrounds their frightful foe.

The Same Glam Goddess reacts swiftly. “You won’t get me this time. Mimics, disperse!” she says, vanishing into hazy air.

 

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New Release: Cloak & Dagger by Michel Lee King

About the Book

Title: Cloak & Dagger

Author: Michel Lee King

Genre: Fantasy

A demonic howl rips through the air. Panicked voices call out. Women race through the fields to the sanctuary of their walled village. The wolf howls again. Men barricade the entrance, daughters are wrapped in the protective arms of their mothers. Sons race to assist their fathers.

It is a scene I’ve seen many times. Heard many times. Caused many times. Their fear does nothing for me. I’m not here for them. I am here for the one they harbor, the one they protect. The harpy in maiden’s clothing. I am here for the one who changed me.

She stole my life, my husband, my future, my sanity. Now with the wolf inside I will find her. I will shred her. That harpy will never fly again.

My name is Ashleigh. I am the big bad wolf. And I am here for Rosamund.

Author Bio

I drink copious amounts of coffee while writing light and dark fiction. It is an obsession of mine (both coffee and writing). I love to create different world people can delve into. Whether set in our world or a fantasy, I love to push my characters through experiences that most of us can relate to. We’ve all been embarrassed by our own actions. We’ve all had those moments you wish you could take back. We’ve all had the “naked on the first day of school” dream. Our idiosyncrasies are what make us human. And, I love to force those traits on my characters to see how they cope with them.

I live in western Washington state in the shadow of Mount Rainier with my husband, son, dog, and the cat that adopted us and refuses to leave. When not writing, I can be found in a library, in the woods, or reading next to the fire.

I am a raging introvert, but I can be found on social media through:

Facebook – King.Michel.Lee

Twitter – @Michel_Lee_King

My website- http://www.MichelLeeKing.com

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NC2781Y

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Spotlight: Rising for Autumn by Katherine McIntyre

 

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Crisis and danger have become second nature for Alanna Carrington—after all, as the boss of the Philadelphia Coven, she’s responsible for upholding the laws amongst the supernatural. Which means when the Order of the Serpent rears its ugly head, this time with the most powerful necromancer this city’s ever seen, she’s the one person who can keep Philly safe. Ex-Order djinn and now ally, Samuel Karim happens to be the best suited guy to help. Except he’s also the first man who’s stoked her interest in far too long, and ever since she commandeered the lamp he’s tethered to for safekeeping, he also hates her guts.

As the Order gathers the necromancers of her city and sparks a dangerous alliance, she finds herself working with Samuel Karim more and more. Hatred burns to passion, and when he exhibits a strength and compassion that breaks through her ironclad defenses, she finds herself falling deeper despite the complications between them. Yet with her city under siege and their lives on the line, the sharp desire between them erupts into the temptation to break their own rules, before the Order of the Serpent robs them of the chance permanently.
Book Excerpt

Even though her toes had iced over and her fingers had lost feeling, she didn’t want to leave. Couldn’t bear the idea of returning to the regular world, not after the transformation that had occurred between them, something brilliant and blinding and a chance she didn’t think she’d ever have. In lieu of that, she couldn’t bear to bring up thoughts of a future, of the problems crowding out the perfection she’d experienced tonight with him.

Even if she got only this one night with Samuel Karim, it would be enough. This night had been the incendiary sort of experience to brand her soul for a lifetime. If she lived long enough to grow gray and wrinkled, she’d remember every detail of today. Every second she spent by his side.

The purple sky spread out full of distant promise, the stars twinkling just out of reach. She memorized the proud arch of his nose, his full lips, and the somber eyes of a man who’d experienced enough grief to make anyone a monster. And yet, she’d never met a more caring individual in her life. A thousand words blossomed to her lips and died there, because no amount of speaking could communicate the depths of how he’d affected her. Of how he’d changed her.

Author Bio

A modern day Renaissance-woman, Katherine McIntyre has learned soapmaking, beer brewing, tea blending, and most recently roasting coffee. Most of which make sure she’s hydrated and bathed while she spends the rest of her time writing. With a desire to travel and more imagination than she knows what to do with, all the stories jumping around in her head led to the logical route of jotting them down on paper. She writes novels with snarky women, ragtag crews, and guys with bad attitudes. High chances for a passionate speech thrown into the mix.
Links

http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com
https://www.amazon.com/Katherine-McIntyre/e/B00J8U4VNU
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre
http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor
http://www.twitter.com/pixierants

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Release Blitz: The Last Grandmaster by Andrew Q Gordon

About the Book

What’s better than discovering a new fantasy series to devour? Getting the first book free! I’m excited to offer, The Last Grand Master, book one in my Champion of the Gods fantasy series, as a free download by signing up for my monthly newsletter. If you love free eBooks as I do, you’ll want to keep subscribed to my newsletter because other sci-fi/fantasy authors will be giving away free eBook downloads via my newsletter throughout 2017.

Subscribe here for your free eBook download and get started today: http://aqgsignups.getresponsepages.com

Title: The Last Grand Master

Author: Andrew Q. Gordon

Genre: Scifi / Fantasy

In a war that shook the earth, the six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, God of Evil. For three thousand years, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity and Neldin’s evil was nearly forgotten.

But then Meglar, wizard-king of Zargon, unleashes the dark magic of the underworld and creates an army of creatures to carry out his master’s will. One by one, the sovereign realms fall as a new war between the gods threatens to engulf Nendor.

Leading the opposition to Meglar is Grand Master Farrell. Young and untried, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.

Farrell is joined by Nerti, queen of the unicorns, and Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen as Farrell’s mate. As Farrell and his new allies make plans to counter Neldin’s evil, Meglar forces their hand when he invades a neighboring kingdom. Rushing to help their ally, Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Cut off from help, Farrell attempts an untried spell that will either turn the tide or cost him and Miceral their lives.

Author Bio

Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. Andrew’s imagination has helped him create works of high fantasy, paranormal thrills and touch of the futuristic.

To find out more about Andrew, follow him on his website or on Facebook.

website: www.andrewqgordon.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewQGordon

Links

The Last Grand Master on Amazon (Kindle)

The Last Grand Master on Amazon (Paperback)

Book Spotlight: A Place to Belong by Claire Boston

a place to belong

 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sean Flanagan has spent a lifetime alone and rejected, constantly hiding who he really is.

With a father who deserted him and a mother who despised him, Sean didn’t think things could get much worse … until he was kicked out of home for being gay. Now he’s discovered he has three half-sisters on the other side of the world. This might be his last chance to find people who will love and accept him. But he’s terrified that if they find out who he really is then they’ll reject him like the rest of his family.

Sean arrives in Houston and is stunned by the warm welcome he receives from his sisters. He begins to hope that maybe this time things will be different. That’s when he meets Hayden Johnson. To follow his heart means risking everything with his newfound family.

Hayden is tired of endless dating. He’s looking for a man to love, someone to spend the rest of his life with. His boss’s new brother ticks all the boxes on the attraction scale, but there’s just one problem – he’s not gay.

Will Sean let his fears rule him, or will he let in the chance of love and find a place where he belongs?

Book Excerpt

place to belong Hayden Johnson watched the hot Irish man walk away, admiring the way his denim shorts molded to his butt. The lightly defined muscles in his arms and calves were damn sexy. He caught Carly’s eye and grinned, fanning himself. He gave her the thumbs up and returned to his desk. Carly hadn’t mentioned how good-looking her new brother was. If he wasn’t mistaken, Sean had seemed attracted to him as well. It would be proof there was a God, if Sean played for the same team.

Hayden smiled. Maybe he could offer to play tour guide while Sean was in town.

Then he’d find out for sure.

Evan came out of the office a few minutes later alone. “I’ve left them to it,” he said as he walked past. “You’re coming to Casa Flanagan on Sunday aren’t you?”

Hayden smiled. “Of course. We’ve got to go through the final details for the wedding.”

“Great. I’ll see you then.”

Hayden waved and then glanced at the closed office door. What excuse could he use to get another peek at Carly’s sexy brother? Before he could come up with anything, the phone rang and he answered it.

“Hayden, is Carly still here?”

It was Frederick, Carly’s PR Executive. Hayden hesitated. She hadn’t said to hold her calls. “She’s with someone.”

“It’s important. I need a response before she goes on leave.”

He sighed. “Hold on.” He put the man on hold and called Carly. “You’ve got Frederick on line one.”

“All right.”

He hung up and a few minutes later she came out with Sean. “I’m so sorry, Sean,” Carly said. “I have to deal with this.”

“No trouble at all. I can find my own way back.”

“I wanted to show you around the building.”

Grabbing the excuse, Hayden said, “I can do it.”

Carly and Sean turned to him and Sean frowned. Hayden smiled. “I’m happy to give Sean the tour.”

Carly hesitated.

He anticipated her next words. “It’s no trouble. I’ve finished the report I was working on and could do with a break.”

“That would be great.” She turned to Sean. “Hayden knows this place almost better than I do. He’ll show you everything.”

“I don’t want to interrupt.” His Irish accent was divine and warmed Hayden’s body.

“Not at all. I need to get away from my desk.”

The man didn’t seem all that thrilled by the idea. Maybe he wasn’t gay, but one of those guys who felt threatened by homosexuals. Some of Hayden’s enthusiasm waned. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d got it wrong.

Author bio

claire bostonClaire Boston is the best-selling author of The Texan Quartet. In 2014 she was nominated for an Australian Romance Readers Award as Favourite New Romance Author.

Her debut contemporary romance novel, What Goes on Tour caught the attention of Momentum’s Joel Naoum when her first scene was read aloud at the Romance Writers’ of Australia (RWA) conference in 2013. This led to a four book contract for The Texan Quartet series.

Claire is proactive in organising social gatherings and educational opportunities for local authors. She is an active volunteer for RWA, as a mentor for aspiring authors and the reader judge coordinator.

When Claire’s not writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.

Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her grubby, but adorable Australian bulldog.

Contact
Please email Claire with any questions claire@claireboston.com
Social Networks
Website: http://www.claireboston.com
Blog: http://www.claireboston.com/blog
Reader Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Z4-4z
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clairebostonauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clairebauthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/clairebauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clairebostonauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe9YKmz-ORDtYaNG17hM5BA

Links
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Claire-Boston/e/B00IE5RXLM/
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/claire+boston
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Claire+Boston
Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=Claire+Boston

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Book Spotlight: Murder at Midnight by John Ukah

 

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Alex Simpson, an ex-police officer, decides after a bout of typhoid fever to take a break in a serene and therapeutic environment. The last thing he expects is to be called upon to solve a murder at the Kinging Guest Lodge. But that is what happens, when the delectable and vivacious Maria Marshall is found dead in her bedroom at midnight.

The gallery of characters living at the guesthouse and thrown into the mix, do not make his task of solving this chilling and brutal murder any easier …

Excerpt

Nagoth didn’t speak to me after that first day. He was not particularly hostile, but was indifferent to my presence. I tried to make it up to him, some days after I arrived, by offering him my stapler; I had heard him asking for one. He was reading a book in the lounge, when I approached him. I had discovered that he often sat alone by himself. He cut the miserable picture of a lonely, little man.

“Here you are,” I said offering the stapler to him. “I heard you asking around for one.” I could see the hesitation in his eyes, before he stretched out his left hand to accept it. Now, in the part of the country where I come from, it is considered very rude, to take or accept something with your left hand. I immediately glanced at his right hand, in which he held the white handkerchief, that he always carried around. He followed the movement of my eyes, but made no attempt to switch hands.

“Thank you,” he said, rather brusquely, placing the stapler on the table. I gave him a stiff smile. I walked away, concluding that he was without manners. Later that day, he gave the stapler to Ayuba to return to me. That was when I realised that reaching out to him was pointless.

That evening, I met Mrs. Marshall in the garden, at the back of the Lodge. She was sitting on one of the wooden chairs, underneath some trees, just below my window. She was knitting a blue cap.

“I hope you don’t mind if I join you?” I asked.

“No, not at all,” she said. “Feel free.”

“You have a very sharp tongue, Mrs. Marshall.” I said with a laugh.

“Have I stung you with my tongue, Mr. Simpson? I like to think that I always tell the truth.”

“The truth can be very bitter,” I replied.

“But people often need the bitter pill of truth to free themselves from the delusions and shackles of self-deceit that they have woven around themselves.” She did not pause her knitting. Yes, she told the truth, but my concern was that she delivered it like a sledgehammer.

“But you have to be careful. You may not realise how deeply you hurt people.” I cautioned.

“I can take care of myself, Mr. Simpson. But, I know at least one person in this Lodge, who would not think twice about leaving a knife in your back, if they ever got the opportunity.” I laughed, knowing it was true. There was something else I was curious about. “How do you get your information about people, Mrs. Marshall?” I asked.

“I keep my eyes open and my ears to the ground,” she replied. I looked into her round eyes, which were certainly always open. Her protruding ears were also definitely alert and seemed to quiver at the slightest sound.

Her dire warning about someone wanting to kill me, proved prophetic. It almost came to pass, later that night.

It was about 11.00pm when I got up from bed. I had been turning and tossing for hours, unable to sleep. I decided to go down to the lounge, to see if there was anything good on television. I poured myself a glass of milk from the fridge, which I decided to take along. On opening my door, I was surprised to find the entire hallway in darkness. The light bulb must have burnt out.

I heard what sounded like the crash of thunder, followed by the sound of something falling to pieces, in Nagoth’s room. Almost immediately, he began to swear and cuss. His expletives would have made a nun blush, but I was no nun. I continued unabashedly, groping my way along the corridor towards the staircase. As I passed by Willie’s room, I heard him praying, energetically. I felt a surge of envy, when I heard snores coming from John’s room.

I’m not sure why, but as I got to the top of the long staircase, I hesitated. It was like standing at the edge of a gaping, pitch-black abyss. Ayuba had to do something about the lights.

Then, I heard quick footsteps behind me. I was surprised, because I had not heard any doors opening. I tried to turn around, but I felt two hands just before the wind knocked out of me and I fell headlong down the stairs. Milk splashed on me, as the glass clattered to pieces on the stairs.

I landed with a thud, at the bottom of the stairs. My left hand was twisted painfully behind my back. I heard doors open in quick succession and a torchlight appeared, pointing down at me.

“Father Lord! Who is there?” called out Willie. “Did you fall?”

“It’s me,” I groaned in pain. “Someone just pushed me down the stairs.”

“Father Lord!” exclaimed Willie. “Who would do such a thing?”

Author Bio

John Ukah is a seasoned banker and Associate of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ACMR). He is a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, where he was listed as University Scholar. He also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA).

 

 

 

Links

Purchase “Murder at Midnight” on Amazon: United StatesUnited KingdomGermany, FranceSpainItalyNetherlandsJapanBrazilCanadaMexicoAustralia, and India.

It is also available on SmashwordsKobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble (Nook)Okadabooks, and major online stores. Okadabooks is mainly for buyers in Africa.

 

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Book Release: CIN by Christina Leigh Pritchard

About the Book

LIMITED EDITION! This offer will not be online once book three is released.

Now, you can own the limited edition of both CIN and TRAITOR, plus deleted scenes! Get ready for Ally’s Secret, book three! Order and email the other your receipt through the newsletter (http://www.christinaleighpritchard.com) and get all the short stories (all 12, plus the free bonus stories given through the newsletter).

CIN, book one:

The Doctor said I should be dead.

My heart beat furiously. I looked up at the flashes of lightning in the sky. Yes, I should be dead.

Why wasn’t I?

Short Synopsis:

Seventeen year old Lisa Brown’s life is falling apart. First, her mother and father divorce, then their house forecloses and now, her mother has decided to commit herself to a psychiatric hospital.

If that weren’t enough, she must leave sunny south Florida to attend a boarding school full of geniuses in cold, Lynn, Massachusetts. The city where the locals chant “Lynn, Lynn, city of sin; you never come out the way you went in.”

And, they aren’t kidding. Lisa must live in a tiny shack with two strange teenagers, a dog named Pig who growls when you look at him and a cat named Rat. “Mind the cat,” everyone says. What the heck is wrong with this place?

Lisa thinks she’s landed in her own house of horrors with the anti-social Alex and his facetious sister Ally. But, the real drama begins the day she is struck by lightning…

Traitor, book two:

Lisa thinks she knows everything about her new life. She can deal with the boundaries and even being torn away from her family. But Alex withheld more than she ever expected. Like, what happens when you lose control? How about when you begin to realize just how trapped you are? He leaves out a lot of stuff about himself too. He doesn’t mention the dangers of some of the others—or of what she herself can do…

BONUS: Amie’s Journal .5

Deleted scenes from the original version of Traitor.
Buy CIN from Amazon

Author Bio

Christina Leigh Pritchard was born and raised in South Florida. Her first stories were written at the age of nine in wide ruled spiral notebooks (which were supposed to be used for class) and in the various diaries she kept. Stories she wrote from age nine to twelve fill about four storage boxes!

Since she’s upgraded to a computer, she’s completed over fifty books and still going strong. Her genre’s include dark fantasy, young adult, drama, suspense, historical romance, multicultural, comedy, poetry and many more.

Visit her website.

Book Spotlight: Toru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie R. Sorensen

 

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

GENRE: Historical Steampunk Fiction
BLURB

A nation encircled by enemies

A noblewoman with everything to lose

A fisherman with everything to prove and a nation to save.

In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial values decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation’s closed borders like vultures.

Toru, a shipwrecked young fisherman rescued by traders and taken to America, defies the Shogun’s ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland from foreign invasion. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, Toru must transform the Emperor’s realm before the Black Ships come.

Guest Post
“The Making of an Alternate History Steampunk Technofantasy Writer” by Stephanie R. Sorensen

So…I have failed as a writer on the most basic piece of advice budding writers are given, which is to pick a genre and make sure you deliver against genre expectations.

Oops.

I didn’t mean to screw up so badly.

I will freely admit I meant to write a steampunk novel (Action! Adventure! Romance! Cool outfits! Dirigibles!), but it kind of meandered out of the lines and scooped up heavy doses of historical fiction (Real people from history doing cool stuff! Culture! History!) and a bit of fantasy of the technofantasy variety (flying dirigibles! Submarines in 1850! an industrial revolution in about 18 months, or about twenty times faster than is really possible!!! Wheee!). Then I altered the history, which gets you into alternate history (the world as it might have been! But wasn’t!).

Call it four genres, and discover you have made trouble with a capital “T” for yourself as a writer. Advice to fellow writers—don’t do this kind of genre-blending, as it annoys readers when they wander into your story thinking it will be one thing and then you serve them something else.

And yet….

I’d do it the same way all over again and write the same story, even knowing there would be grumpy readers out there. Why? Because the story I told is a story with characters I love and is a story I could only tell by borrowing elements from all those genres and putting them together in a new way.

I love steampunk novels, and the way they let us visit a time when elegance and manners held sway, versus the coarseness and informality of our daily life today. Steampunk also remakes the past into a better past, “better” by today’s moral and ethical standards, like more equality and less slavery. Let’s be real—if you were a woman of any race or class or a person of a non-white race in the 19th century, like African slaves in the American South, or Asians and Middle-Easterners and Africans being “colonized” and “civilized” by the imperialist powers, your life basically sucked.

Steampunk novels have women and non-white people doing all the fun adventurous things that white males have always gotten to do, and steampunk characters get to right wrongs and do it while enjoying elegance and courtesy and cool outfits. I also enjoy how steampunk novels explore our human response to technology. The nineteenth century was the last time an ordinary person could look at and touch technology and understand how it might work without having a masters degree in some obscure kind of engineering. All these ingredients found their way into my story, even if it was not purely steampunk by the time I ended.

I also love history and historical fiction. When I set out to write a steampunk novel set in Japan, I knew Japanese history and culture might be alien and unfamiliar for many of my American readers. That meant I spent a lot of time building up a Japanese world that was truly Japanese, not whitewashed America in samurai drag. I knew I had to help the reader unfamiliar with Japan understand why Tōru’s mission was so life or death for the Japanese of that time.

The period I chose was as big a deal for Japan as our American Revolutionary War or the Civil War was for Americans, or the French Revolution for the French, when their entire nation changed from being one way to being entirely different. I couldn’t just have Tōru and his friends rushing around having random adventures in their dirigible against a Japanese backdrop—those adventures needed to mean something and have historical resonance.

Once I had put all the history and culture into the world-building, I found myself in alternate history territory, where I had to create a new history based on the changes the steampunk technology triggered. That’s why it is a series, for this first book only kicks off this revolutionary period in Japanese history and triggers a world where steampunk technologies make a difference to history. There is so much more to explore in the upcoming books, which I am working on now.  I also wanted to show the incredible resilience and uniqueness of Japanese culture, how it absorbs changes and outside forces but renews those forces into a form uniquely and identifiably Japanese.

In the end, I was forced to blend steampunk with historical fiction with alternate history and a bit of fantastical technological handwaving to tell this story, of Japanese who must remake their nation overnight to save it from foreign invasion. Without the fantasy elements, on a larger time frame, it remains a true story, for that is the challenge the Japanese faced and rose to meet in real history, and it is an incredibly moving story. And even though my characters are fictional, they are, to the best of my humble ability, very Japanese and courageous and resilient in their devotion to their cause of saving their nation.

“Tōru: Wayfarer Returns” is not a classic steampunk adventure story, although it does have a bit of action and adventure, and romance and dirigibles. It’s also not historical fiction in the usual sense, although it is full of authentic culture and history. Finally, it’s more of a prequel to an alternate history, describing the moment where historical timelines divide and a new and alternate history can arise. For some readers, these are problems. To others, they are exactly what makes it much more than a mere steampunk adventure novel or a straightforward history.

To me as a writer, these were necessary ingredients to tell a story about a young man with a nation to save and everything to prove to an unobtainable woman he loves and an unreachable father he respects. This is Tōru’s story, and Japan’s story, no matter what genre it is. I hope you will enjoy it.

Excerpt

“Rather than argue with them, you should invite them to make the first flight with you,” said Takamori. “At first they will agree, since it is their place as the leaders. Everyone is very excited about the dirigibles. Set the time and place for the first flight. Jiro should explain that is not a good time because of the wind or something technical that needs testing first. You argue with Jiro and perhaps even scold him for impertinence in front of the daimyōs.”

“Yes, I am often scolded for impertinence,” said Jiro. “I have a talent for it, you know.”

“Indeed you do,” said Tōru. He saw where Takamori was going. “Then they notice the risks and uncertainties…and they ask me if it is safe. I tell them honestly that we have no idea if it is safe or if it will work, and that we might all crash to a fiery death and therefore perhaps I should test it first myself before we endanger them.”

“And I will be impertinent again and tell you in front of them that you don’t have a clue how to fly one of these dirijibi!” Jiro finished the plan for them. “Which is also true, by the way. I know how to fly one of these, and you don’t.”

“You’ve never flown one either,” protested Tōru.

“I have built one. Almost. Soon. How many have you built?” asked Jiro, with his broad grin.

Tōru opened his mouth and closed it again.

“See? Problem solved,” said Takamori, as he pounded Tōru on the back. “We have a fine dirijibi pilot, the finest dirijibi pilot in all of Japan, our good man Jiro here.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links

Stephanie is a writer based in the Victorian mining town of Leadville, Colorado, where she lives at 10,251 feet with her husband, five chickens, two bantam English game hens and one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. After a former life in big cities-New York City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Boston, Mexico City, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Santa Fe-she now enjoys the birdsong and quiet writing time she finds in Leadville. Her first novel draws on her experience living and working in Japan; her next historical novel is set in Mexico where she also lived for several years. As a Leadville local, she likes her Victorian attire spiced with a little neo-Victorian futurism and the biggest bustle possible.

Recognition for “Toru: Wayfarer Returns”

— Finalist, Fantasy category, 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

— Bronze Medal Award, Multicultural Fiction category, 2016 eLit Book Awards

LINKS

Author website                        http://stephaniersorensen.com/

Author Facebook        https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011148014463

Publisher website        http://palantirpress.com/

Publisher Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/people/Sassa-Margot/100010457895534

Publisher Twitter         https://twitter.com/SassaMargot

Sell sheet PDF                 http://palantirpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Toru-Sell-Sheet.pdf

Kirkus review              https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/stephanie-r-sorensen/toru/

Historical Novel Society review https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/toru-wayfarer-returns-sakura-steam-series-book-1/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/toru-stephanie-r-sorensen/1123110310?ean=9780996932318

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