During the month of July I’m participating with several (30!) authors in a group blog tour called Seasonal Reading. In July, we’ll be featuring sets of different books that will make great reads for the lazy days of summer. Each weekend, we’ll offer great prizes, including copies of the featured titles, promotional items, and more!
Winners will be notified by e-mail.
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ALIEN DREAMS, by John Rosenman
Captain Eric Latimore leads a four-person crew to Lagos to investigate a previous team’s mysterious disappearance. Once there, he discovers that an ominous alien presence is invading their dreams. Each member of his crew has the same dream–huge, seductively beautiful “angels” speak to them telepathically.
The creatures strand his crew on the planet and only Latimore can free them–if he survives.
What is different about ALIEN DREAMS, John?
I think Alien Dreams stands out from other space operas because I tried to open myself to and expand the vast conceptual possibilities of the genre. Captain Latimore faces a unique threat to his crew on the planet Lagos: beautiful but deadly angel-like aliens who invade their dreams. To save his crew, he must not only change into a gigantic angel himself, but mate with their ravishing queen for thousands of subjective years. I believe this erotic scene breaks new ground, as does the hero himself, who is not one but two: a silent brother exists within his mind and ultimately tries to take over. Finally, Latimore must travel across the universe and do battle with a cosmic Gatekeeper for control of the universe. In such areas, I try not only to explore new dimensions but to illuminate what it truly means to be human.
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UNSEELIE, by Meredith Holmes
When Alfhild was a little girl, her grandmother called her a fairy princess and told her all of her favorite tales.
She’d never imagined they were real.
Anxious to avoid the swarming reporters and ghoulish souvenir hunters who won’t leave her alone when her brother Gulliver is tried and acquitted for multiple murders he almost certainly committed, a grown up Alfhild changes her name to Lorelei and flees Louisiana to the sanctuary she inherited from her grandmother, the ancestral home in England.
All is well until she wakes one morning to find a naked man in her rosebush.
And the games begin . . .
Can you tell about your book, Meredith?
I fell in love with urban fantasy by accident–one day I saw a card in a local metaphysical shop, one of those blank jobs that you fill out for random occasions, when you forgot a birthday or need to send a thank you note and don’t like what the mainstream card shops have to offer (you can only deal with so many dancing bunnies and softly flourished flowers, after all). The card had a picture of a autumn-colored man clad in green velvet and wearing a crown of dark leaves. A story sprang into my head about him and I called him Cadfael. By that night, I had the first six chapters of Unseelie written (in their earliest, raw form); Alfhild, Cadfael and Du had taken off and were running away with my plot and the twists and turns of the Unseelie and Seelie Courts were just pouring out into the digital pages. I blithely called it a romance but within a few more chapters, I realized no, it was urban fantasy, a genre I’d shunned as a fantasy purist… Well, fool me! Now that is my genre of choice when I write and I’ve expanded from faeries to include demons, witches, and creatures of all sorts.
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IVAN AND MARYA, by Anna Kashina
Every Solstice, every year, a young girl dies to prolong the life of a madman.
Every Solstice a hero tries to stop them…and dies.
But this is Ivan’s year. Though his brothers plot his death, and the villagers
whose daughters are dying warn him not to interfere, Ivan the Fool is determined to stop the sacrifice.
With the help of the immortals, gotten by sympathy, force, or guile, Ivan
believes his love will save the beautiful Marya from herself.
Where did the idea for IVAN AND MARYA come from?
I felt that Russian fairy tales have not been explored enough in fiction, and
they have so much to offer to a writer and a reader. I built on a most
classical one, but also did something different with it. My story is told from
two points of view — Marya, who is on the side of ‘evil’, and Ivan, who is on
the side of ‘good’, and the contrast between the two creates shades of depth
that amazed me when I was working on the story. It was a pleasure to write,
and I constantly had this feeling of revelation, as if I am not making this up
but uncovering yet another layer of a fascinating world. I also did my best to
make it as authentic as possible, down to the details of the Russian Solstice
celebration, an ancient tradition that is very much practiced today.
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CHOCOLATIER’S WIFE, Cindy Lynn Speer
Tasmin, William’s wife to be, was chosen by a spell, as all wives and husbands are chosen. It’s a nice, tidy way to find a reasonable mate for almost everyone. Unfortunately, Tasmin is from the North, a place of magic and strange ritual, and William is from the South, where people pride themselves on being above that kind of insanity.
William doesn’t seem in a hurry to send for Tasmin, for which none of his family blame him. After all, she’s a barbarian. She, on the other hand, would like to know what’s keeping him. When he’s framed for murdering his patron, Tasmin takes matters into her own hands. She’s gotten to know William from his letters. He’s not a murderer and she’s going to help him prove it.
Someone out there doesn’t like him and is beginning to dislike Tasmin almost as much, and that someone isn’t at all averse to making sure William and Tasmin aren’t around long enough to celebrate their wedding.
Tasmin, of course, has other plans.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I am a part time writer… like everyone, I’m juggling a lot of delicate porcelain plates… one for writing, one for work, one for family, one for fencing. It splits your focus… but it also gives you a lot of great ideas and experiences to pull from. Would I like to be a full time writer? For certain. But I think that being forced to go out and talk to people every day, being exposed to life, enriches me and therefore will, hopefully, be reflected in my work. So, in that way, it affects things positively… in the whole productivity issue, well… sometimes things are not so positive.
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COMPOSING MAGIC, Elizabeth Barrette
Composing Magic: How to Create Spells, Rituals, Blessings, Chants, and Prayers guides you through the exciting realm of magical and spiritual writing. Explore the process of writing, its tools and techniques, individual types of composition, and ways of sharing your work with other people. Each type of writing includes its history and uses, covering diverse traditions; plus step-by-step instructions, finished compositions, and exercises. Intended for alternative religions, but it can be generalized to others or used by fiction writers to create background tidbits.
Why did you write this book, Elizabeth?
I spotted a gap in previous material — I have a knack for doing that. Pagan/magical books tell people to write their own rituals, spells, etc. but rarely give any guidance on doing it. Writing books tell people how to write in general, but there were no specific guides for magical writing and not many for spiritual writing. I’m good at figuring out how I do what I do and then explaining it to other folks so they can work through the steps. It wasn’t until the reviews came in for _Composing Magic_ that I realized this is a rather rare skill — most of them mention how clear and doable the instructions are. So now I’m trying to make more use of this skill.