Friday, November 30, 2018

Cover Reveal for Wolf Smoke by Poe Casavant




They were chosen to save their country. First, they'll have to save themselves. 

Following a decade of nuclear war, the population has plummeted, forcing the world to find a civilian-saving alternative. They settle on the Langyan Series, where, in order to decide international disputes, twelve-person teams from each country will compete in paintball battles inside a specially designed arena.

Sarah Charlton—a depressed, destructive, and anxiety-ridden college dropout—is the last person anyone expects to lead the USA team. Cut off from the outside world, she and her eleven teammates, including an old friend and an old flame, must rely on one another for safety and support. To prove her worth as a leader, Sarah first has to learn to trust in herself.

But then the Series turns deadly, and as the team fights to stay alive, Sarah fights to hold onto her humanity.

A thrilling science-fiction story by Poe Casavant

Cover art by l0cke

February 26, 2019, from Sky Forest Press


Add it to your Goodreads today



Poe Casavant is the author of the first book in the Langyan Series and its upcoming sequels. By day, she designs robotic props and hairpieces for the fashion world. When not working, you can find her crashing through waves in her sea kayak, jumping out of airplanes, or training for her current goal of climbing the highest peak on every continent. (Five down, three to go!) Poe’s passion is creating high-octane stories with characters who shatter traditional stereotypes.
Poe lives in sunny Silicon Valley with her husband, cat, and two parrots.

Find Poe on Twitter and her website.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Release Week Blitz for Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson with GIVEAWAYS!


Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for
Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson
presented by Entangled Teen!
We've got 2 fabulous giveaways available for you at the end of the post!
CONGRATULATIONS, CINDY!




I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.
Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear…



Cindy lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and loves using Colorado towns and cities as inspiration for settings in her stories. She's the mother of three girls, who provide plenty of fodder for her YA novels. Cindy writes speculative fiction and YA fiction, filled with a healthy dose of romance. You'll often find her hiking or listening to any number of playlists while she comes up with her next story idea.




Thursday, November 15, 2018

Author Interview with R. D. Crist with GIVEAWAY!



1. How did you go about the world building in Scarlet Reign?

The Scarlet Reign world seemed to build itself – it’s how I pictured a world of magic would make sense. I began with just the first chapter – in five minutes I had an idea and two hours later it was complete – minus 50 or so edits. Then I focused on an ending where young women could come out of their shell and rise to the challenge; it was just there. After that, I implemented the rules and the characters as the story developed. Everything between can seem overwhelming to create, but it was so much fun because I didn’t worry about the story: I just picked one thing at a time that I wanted to see happen and tried to fit it in somewhere, so I literally bounced back and forth from the beginning to the end of the story just adding ideas. At times I had no idea what direction things would go. Toward the end, it was a challenge to make everything connect, but that was even more fun, like a puzzle. I go on long walks when something is on my mind, with no pressure, and the problems of the story are usually resolved.  On tough days, they’re really long walks.


2. What does your writing process look like?


Over the years I come up with numerous ideas that I think would be exciting to see in a story. I collect them until a complete adventure can be pieced together.  It is really just a matter of squeezing as many ideas as I can into a timeline.  Unfortunately, many of the ideas have to be left out if they don’t fit, but, then they are saved for another story.


3. What inspired you to write young adult.


Adolescence is a difficult time for many people. My intent is to facilitate a feeling of acceptance and normalcy in young adults. I believe people learn best through experience, and they can even learn through other people’s experiences. Thus, entertaining stories are a great catalyst for growth and why I chose this genre.  

4. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?


I never really thought of myself as a writer, even today. I know it sounds weird, but I just want to create a place where people can go for help, adventure, and emotional journeys. Writing, to me, is an art where people can work magic with words. I feel my art is in the story. Although, I think I’m too hard on myself: I didn’t really appreciate my writing until I read an excerpt of my work on another site. Then I was like, wow, I wrote that?


5. What are your future goals?  Can we expect more books?


I am working on about ten different stories at the moment. I piece them together in my mind until they are complete enough to start a treatment. I am always building them and have numerous treatments written down. I promised myself I would publish the second book to Scarlet Reign next year, which has been written and needs to be revised, but there are several more I can’t wait to complete. There are four books in this series, so we’ll see where it all goes, but first I must consider writing as a hobby because I have other responsibilities. I will do everything in my power to have one Scarlet Reign book come out every year. It shouldn’t be hard as the last two are compiled and ready to be written – but there may also be a spinoff. I have already put forth great effort to piece them together so that they connect as a complete story. Book one is filled with set-ups that are imperative to the other seven (yes, seven) books.


6. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?


Do not quit, and do not stress about it. Advice I still need to follow. I have walked away from writing and come back so many times, but I just keep getting better. This story was actually written about five years ago, but it is now just coming out in its final version. Also, I wrote another book before this one but was frustrated when a similar story came out before I published it, even though it was about four years in the making. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.  I think my stories get better each time anyway.



R.D. Crist is a psychotherapist who generates creativity via long walks and majestic views of nature. True inspiration to write, however, derives from personal hardships that have sparked a desire to help others manage life’s various struggles.

Although R.D. Crist has only released one book, three have been written and several more begun, which span a variety of genres.  The focus of these stories are intended to center on Crist’s favorite dynamics of a story – personal conflict, relationship development, inner growth, and social revelation.  Each story is created with a greater purpose to stimulate a person to reflect on common challenges, be they personal, interactive, or in principle.

Childhood influences include Ray Bradbury stories and character conflict movies like Twelve Angry Men.

Socializing, listening to people’s stories, spending time with family, and relentlessly exercising (as if those last ten pounds cared) are some of Crist’s favorite ways to pass the day.


Website   Twitter   Facebook    

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Book Review of Scarlet Reign, Malice of the Dark Witch by R. D. Crist with GIVEAWAY!


After the unexplainable death of her mother on the eve of Natalie’s fourteenth birthday, she is suddenly forced to grow up. Compelled to leave her dismal and deceptive life behind by a mysterious woman who claims to be an old relative, Natalie carries with her the highly coveted, scarlet stoned ring she reluctantly retrieved from her mother upon her death. 

Following Natalie’s irreversible decision, she unexpectedly finds herself alone and thrust into a peculiar all female orphanage where her arrival was strangely anticipated by the inhabitants, and greeted by some with ire. Ultimately, young Natalie must quickly learn to fend for herself against bullies, unexplained forces, a male suitor, and something lurking for revenge. Does she have both the strength and resolve, and can she set the past aside, to uncover the secrets necessary in order to fulfill her destiny?



*We were given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

There is so much to love about this story! From the writing itself to the twisting plotline. I loved Natalie and joining her on her journey to find the truth of who she is and what she is capable of. 

This story starts off with a lot of urgency. As a reader, I quickly got caught up in Natalie and Ava's escape and the many mysterious things that happen along the way. I enjoyed seeing Natalie grow up quickly. For me, the process of her growing felt natural and helped me bond with her as the main character. The reader knows as much as she does, and it keeps you wanting to know more. 

This is a well-written coming of age story with lots of mystery and adventure to keep the reader always at the ready. While set in the present day the story takes on the same feel as a fantasy novel, as Natalie goes on a journey to the orphanage. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. 

Goodreads   Amazon 



R.D. Crist is a psychotherapist who generates creativity via long walks and majestic views of nature. True inspiration to write, however, derives from personal hardships that have sparked a desire to help others manage life’s various struggles.

Although R.D. Crist has only released one book, three have been written and several more begun, which span a variety of genres.  The focus of these stories are intended to center on Crist’s favorite dynamics of a story – personal conflict, relationship development, inner growth, and social revelation.  Each story is created with a greater purpose to stimulate a person to reflect on common challenges, be they personal, interactive, or in principle.

Childhood influences include Ray Bradbury stories and character conflict movies like Twelve Angry Men.


Socializing, listening to people’s stories, spending time with family, and relentlessly exercising (as if those last ten pounds cared) are some of Crist’s favorite ways to pass the day.

Website   Twitter   Facebook    


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Perfect Detective


So, you’ve picked your victim. You’ve plotted out the way they’ll die. You know why they’re about to be murdered. You may even know how their body will be discovered. Now what?

You’ve got to pick someone to solve this delicious crime.

Depending on your process, you may already have your detective in mind, but, if you’re like me, you may have fallen into your mystery with the mystery first and everything else secondary.

A little backstory. I was driving to work one day in the horrible traffic that no city as small as Baton Rouge should possibly be able to produce on a daily basis, when I began to reminisce about my band. It was something I did every so often. Something would remind me of one of my bandmates and down I’d go through memory lane.

On this particular morning, I was thinking about my former drummer. He had this large hardware case for all his cymbal stands, drum throne, drum heads, and whatever kind of accessory a 29-year-old man with a very good job and very few responsibilities could buy. This thing was a beast; and because our bassist lived in Hammond and not New Orleans, I was generally lifting the other end to help heft the damn thing out of our second-floor warehouse space, down the rickety steps and into the drummer’s Jeep. And he made the same joke every time. 

“She was a good ol’ girl, but I just had to go and kill her.”

I think he made it every time, because the first time he made it, I did actually laugh because I was imagining myself into a gangster movie disposing of a dead body at exactly that same moment.

However, after the thirtieth time, it did lose its charm. 

So, flash forward years later and I’m thinking about this as I pull into work and snicker to myself imagining the look on his face had a dead body ever come tumbling out of that box and that’s when it hit me. That spark. That arrow of creativity pierced my brain and by the end of lunch that day I had the first chapter of That Old Devil Sin.

Problem was, I had a mystery and no earthly idea how I was going to solve it or who was going to do the solving. In a traditional whodunit, the detective is as important as the whodunit. And while a mystery can be all about the mystery (see Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), I am not that disciplined of a writer to pull it off. 

Besides, I like my mysteries to have a good story and that was the kind of mystery I wanted to write. 

When you’re developing your detective and the cast of characters that surround them, you have to figure out the world in which they inhabited up until the moment that dead body makes its appearance, even if it makes its appearance in the first paragraph. 

By and large, the crime solver in every mystery falls into one of two categories: the Perfect Detective and the Flawed Detective.

The progenitor of the Perfect Detective is, of course, Sherlock Holmes. A man of genius intellect and few emotional attachments. This makes his personal life rather clean and tidy and it never interferes with his work. Let’s put aside the fact that he’s a cocaine addict and possibly a sociopath himself based on clues the modern reader can pick up from ancillary text in the stories. Sherlock Holmes is, in many ways, a detecting machine. That’s his core function. 

Hercule Poirot is another example. Sure, he’s a narcissist and possibly a closeted homosexual, but we don’t know that. We’re only guessing. Just like Sherlock Holmes, he has no inner world that is open to us.

Even when that inner world is opened, there might not be much there. Let’s take Kay Scarpetta. She’s a badass criminologist, but that’s pretty much all she is. She has few, if any, flaws. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great character, but there is very little about her that distracts from her core function: finding the killer.

As writers, however, we’re able to explore the human condition. And while having a detective with few distractions and flaws that back up on them while they’re solving the case may make your mystery clean and tidy, where’s the fun in clean and tidy?

This leads us to the Flawed Detective. Let’s take Dave Robicheaux. When we first meet Streak, he’s a low-functioning alcoholic fucking around on his wife with a stripper. Even when he gets sober, his personal life is always getting in the way of his professional crime-solving. 

Will Trent is another great example. The dude can barely read and has an on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again relationship with his childhood sweetheart to the point of exhaustion. 

Or more recently, Lisbeth Salander. A victim of sexual abuse who’s a high-function autistic with a very limited moral compass.

What makes the Flawed Detectives more fun to write, in my estimation, than the Perfect Detectives, is that you get to go off-script. You can diverge from the path of your mystery on a little daytrip down Dysfunctional Lane. You can load your mystery with distracting relationships and offstage backstory that makes your detective behave erratically. You can let your detective leap to the wrong assumptions and beat up someone they shouldn’t and feel guilty about it… or not feel guilty about it; they are flawed, after all.

My detective, Clementine “Q” Toledano is Flawed with a capital F for Fucked Up. And her partner in crime, Aaron Sanger is equally Flawed, albeit in a more staid manner. And their flaws sometimes converge to play off one another. This dynamic allows me to go to darker places than if Q was just a happy-go-lucky musician and her friend, Detective Aaron Sanger, was an NOPD crime-fighting machine.

They get to fight. They get to make up. They get to make each other laugh and hold each other when they cry. They get to drink too much and love the wrong people and jump to the wrong conclusions.

In short, they get to live.

Whatever kind of mystery you are writing, taking the time to really understand your detective will make the mystery more fun to read and, in the end, a lot easier to write. Happy #NaNoWrMo!



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Languages of fantasy

Now I'm sure we are all familiar with our favorite fantasy movies and books, that have all this elaborate world-building and backstory to help amp up the plot and drive of the main character, but to me what's really special are the authors who take it up a notch, and create a whole new language!

Now obviously not every fantasy novel does this, it completely depends on the type of fantasy (sub-genre) and even then, not all are created equal so to speak.
If by any chance you are familiar with the Lord of the Rings, the first thing that may come to mind on this topic is the elvish language. Now, on so many different topics, I tip my hat off to Tolkien, because that man is a flipping genius with an extraordinary mind. But in this aspect, he takes the cake for me.

This man, not only created a language that could be spoken by those of a particular race but also showed it in some of his books. By that, I mean legitimately created an alphabet to write down this made up language. I don't think most people realize how insane that is.

In my opinion a lot of fantasy reads that do this, it enhances my experience with that novel. It helps me further submerge my mind into the world this author creates.

A lot of books and movies I've seen have typically used a little here and there and mostly with mages or wizards.


I guess you could say I'm a huge admirer of this tactic. It just takes so much skill. Because then you have to decide its origin and how it sounds when pronounced, and why people choose to use that language of another, it's just a lot.

So the next time you read a good fantasy book and some new vocab is introduced to that world, I hope you might have a little more appreciation because I can guarantee you have no idea how much thought went into that one word, let alone a full sentence!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Asking the Big Questions

One thing that I love about science fiction and is one of the biggest draws for me, is that science fiction stories have the capacity to ask and explore the larger questions in life. These stories dare us to think deeper and open our minds up to possibilities of what the answer could be to these big questions. 

Think of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror and how they twist reality to explore what society could be like if certain things were different. These stories push the reader to extremes, but that's why we like them, we want to be pushed. Just like those who like to be scared watch/read horror stories. 

Emotion in Genres


Each genre evokes emotions from us. Romance can be heartwarming, steamy, or give us the peace that only a happy ending can give. Action excites our adrenaline and adventure side, while drama can bring up empathy, justice, and morals. While science fiction feeds our curiosity and sense of wonder. 

Each genre can have a mix of emotions, but in general, we know what to expect when we read or watch a story in that genre. When a writer decides they want to write science fiction, they have to be aware of what larger question their story will answer. Could be as simple as, What will society be like in 200 years? Answering even simple questions takes on answering more questions, as the writer has to compile how they think each aspect of our current society would evolve. For me, this means lots of research in history, science, philosophy, and psychology to help me get a complete picture of where society could go in 200 years. 

It can seem daunting at first tackling life's larger questions, but that is the freedom science fiction gives a writer. For me, the point is not to try to find the perfect answer to these big questions, but to simply ask them, putting them in the mind of my readers. 

So take the plunge! Dig deep and see what questions you have for the universe and turn it into a story.