Friday, May 29, 2015

The Cephalopod Coffehouse: Best Books of May

It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time to reveal the best books of the month. It's part of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse:



I'm so excited to tell you about this first book...mostly because authors Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson are so supportive of authors. Any time I see a supportive author, I want to tell everyone I know to buy that person's book! Like many supportive authors, Jessica and Stephanie have oodles of talent to go with their wonderful personalities. The Secret Lives of Fairday Morrow has everything I love in a book...



It combines the spookiness of the supernatural with the suspense of a story about child detectives. I love Fairday Morrow. She's so courageous while also being realistic. The supernatural scenes are scary without being too scary for young readers. It's the perfect tween book!

My second book this month is Ghost of Death by Chrys Fey. 


If I haven't mentioned it before, I love ghosts. Stories about what happens after death have always fascinated me. Chrys's story doesn't disappoint. Jolie Montgomery wakes up with no memory of how she ended up dead in an alley. She follows the lead detective throughout the investigation, with the mystery unraveling as the story progresses. There isn't a single slow moment in Ghost of Death. In fact, I read the entire book in two sessions on the treadmill. I couldn't stop reading!

Book #3 is Kinetic by S.K. Anthony.



You don't have to have supernatural powers to relate to Annie Fox's feelings for her ex. In fact, almost every woman has, at one time or another, been attracted to a man who is completely bad for her. Only Annie's ex has special powers...and those special powers are dangerous. Annie's orders are to kill him when she sees him, but she can't quite bring herself to do that. If you like kick-butt, but relatable, characters, you'll love Kinetic.

I also read two books on audio this month. The first was this amazing tween book by Sarah Mlynowski. I may be the last person in the world to start on the Whatever After book series but after reading Fairest of All, I know I'll have to read more of them!



Just as the Magic Tree House series takes readers through history, the Whatever After series takes readers through fairy tales. Ten-year-old Abby and her seven-year-old brother find a magic mirror that allows them to step right into their favorite fairytales. Mlynowski has that great writer's "voice" that makes girly tween books so fun.

My last book was my grown-up indulgence. I do that every now and then. The Stranger is the book that knocked The Girl on the Train off the top spot on the best seller list. There's a reason. Harlan Coben rocks!



Imagine a stranger approaching you and telling you your wife faked her pregnancy. Or your daughter has been working as an online "escort." This is the basic setup of The Stranger, but why is the stranger telling people these things? You'll just have to read it to find out!

What's the best book you read in May? Tell us in comments or add your name to the list below and tell all of your readers!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Guest Post: 5 Things You Should Know About Ten Thousand Days

It's a busy week in the blogging world. Today I'm welcoming C.D. Gallant, who is telling us five things we should know about his new book, Ten Thousand Days. Check out this beautiful cover:




Here's his post. Be sure to read all about him below his guest post and order a copy today!
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My debut novella Ten Thousand Days is now available as an eBook on Amazon sites worldwide. A contemporary fantasy, it's the story of Isaac, a young Everyman and regular guy who just seems to stumble through life and is somehow married to the most beautiful girl in the world. He doesn't appreciate what he has until everything is taken away and he's thrust into a weird and horrific otherworld as he desperately tries to regain his lost love.

You can read the blurb anywhere, but I'm here today to give you a bit more detail and insight on what the book really is and what you can expect for taking the chance with me.

1. It is probably not what you're expecting

The biggest feedback I've gotten about Ten Thousand Days so far is "That's not what I was expecting at all." The blurb and the first few chapters seem to set something up, but the story skews in a drastically different direction in the second act. Part of the surprise is because I've been purposefully vague about plot details hoping to avoid revealing too many spoilers. Another part of it may be because I just didn't write a very good blurb.

Either way, hopefully the rest of this list will better prepare your expectations. 

Do away with your preconceptions. Be open-minded. And be ready for a crazy ride...

2. It is funny 

I have a weird sense of humour. My favourite authors are Terry Pratchett and Kurt Vonnegut, plus I hold a special place for Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore. That's the style of humour I aim for. Do I hit it? Maybe not on their illustrious level, but I've been told there's a chuckle or two.

That being said, Ten Thousand Days is not a comedy. It has equal parts heartbreak and melancholy. I tried to balance the comedy and the tragedy because I think that's the way both work best - humour in sadness, sorrow in joy, hand in hand, together always. Much like Isaac and his wife Clementine are *supposed* to be. 

3. It is a fantasy

Not "Lord of the Rings" fantasy, more of a Neil Gaiman style modern-fantasy. I really tried to go for an “American Gods” or “Neverwhere” type of vibe. 

Those of you who pick this up expecting fantasy shouldn’t be surprised if you don't see any magic and wonder right away. It starts pretty mundane, but trust me, it gets fantastical as the story progresses. There will be wizards and monsters and time travel and probably a dragon. But that's how fantasy works right? By contrasting the weird against the normal? Ten Thousand Days certainly strives to do that. Things get extra weird and surreal when juxtaposed against the normalcy of every day... 

4. It is a fairy tale 

It's certainly based on a fairy tale, anyway. While not an exact re-telling of the story of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), I do borrow liberally from that tale. There's a quest and battle between good and evil and it contains many of the same tropes like dragons and magic swords. There's even one scene toward the middle that wouldn't be out of place in the Disney version (well, except for the swearing... and the blood). At its heart it's the story of a young man going on an adventure, but it's also a lot more than that.

5. It is a love story

Ten Thousand Days is listed under several categories on Amazon, "romance" being one of them. Which it is technically a love story, the categorization is also a little misleading. It's not a "Romance" in the traditional sense of the genre. Maybe it's just my own perception, but when I think of a "Romance Novel," I picture stuff like Harlequin, "bodice rippers" and erotica, which Ten Thousand Days is certainly not. If anything, my book is more of a Romance in the sense that Wuthering Heights in a romance - not that I'm comparing my book to Wuthering Heights, because my wife would slap me if I did - it's more about passion and death and longing and desperation. It's no English literary classic, but it definitely has more in common with gothic romanticism than "Hired by the Cowboy" or "Waking Up Married."


Bio:

Writer, gamer, pro-wrestling aficionado. Dad.

I claim to write stories, but really I just find them in The Closet, dust them off, add a few commas and send them out into the world.

Proudly Canadian, born and raised in Newfoundland, fine-tuned and educated in Toronto and currently residing in Ottawa with a beautiful wife, two wonderful children and various furry four-legged companions.






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Monday, May 25, 2015

Introducing A Change of Mind By Nick Wilford

Nick Wilford is launching his book baby into the world today and I'm excited to help. Here's Nick:



Through his blog, Scattergun Scribblings, Nick writes about writing. He lives in Scotland, which just shows how wide-reaching our blog world is! His new book, A Change of Mind, is a collection that includes various short pieces. Here's the awesome cover: 



Here's more about Nick's new book, which goes on sale today.

Blurb:


A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine. 


In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around. 

But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be… 

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone. 

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world. 

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him. 

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition. 

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.


Bio:

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter or Goodreads.


Contact info:

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