Book Blitz: Blackbird Road by James L Weaver

 

Blackbird Road
James L. Weaver
(Jake Caldwell #3)
Published by: Lakewater Press
Publication date: September 25th 2018
Genres: Adult, Thriller

With his wedding day fast approaching and his PI boss heading out of town, ex-mob enforcer Jake Caldwell decides to take one more job before a much-needed vacation. But in a matter of days, his client is assassinated and her six-year-old son kidnapped.

With just a few clues, Jake calls on old friends to help track down the person responsible. Only this time his fiancée Maggie, desperate for Jake to leave his violent history behind, can’t guarantee she’ll be there when, or if, he comes home.

But Jake can’t turn his back on those who need him. It’s in his blood.

A perilous plot of lies and secrets unfolds, and Jake encounters criminals more brutal than ever. And when a threat to thousands of innocent lives is uncovered, Jake once again dives back into his past, requesting favors from some unexpected and unsavory contacts.

Jake needs to stay one step ahead of the bad guys if he’s to have any future at all.

The third book in the award-winning JAKE CALDWELL series is an intense, complex, and frantic race against time. Weaver has done it again in this raw and riveting read set in the Ozarks.

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EXCERPT:

Dawson’s arm lashed out and backhanded the kid. The boy flew back and crashed to the gravel, hands covering his face. Dawson advanced on the crumpled figure, and Jake jammed his foot against the gas pedal.

“I’m fine,” he said. “Just gotta take care of something. I’ll call you back.”

He tossed the phone to the passenger seat as he maneuvered the truck toward the fork in the road. The heat crawled up his neck, flushing his face in a crimson hue, feeling the sting of the strike on his face as if Dawson struck him. Jake’s father was the master of the backhand slap, and Jake the recipient of it many times. The perfect balance of speed and stealth—you never saw it coming. As Jake wrung the life from the steering wheel and spun right at the fork in the road, he had to get his shit under control or it would be Dawson’s neck beneath his hands. That wouldn’t end well for anyone.

By the time Jake roared up the driveway, a woman made a feeble attempt to stand between Dawson and the boy. Another quick lash from Dawson’s hand sent her sprawling on the ground beside the kid. Jake slid to a stop in a cloud of dust and grabbed his pistol under the seat. Dawson jerked his head at the disturbance, a snarl rising on his stubbled face. Jake drew a deep breath of sanity through his nose and out his mouth, releasing the gun. It would be a horrible idea to bring it, and he wouldn’t need it anyway. If he couldn’t take care of a drunk wife beater, then he might as well give it all up and go work as a janitor somewhere.

Jake stomped from the truck, noting the blood trickling from the boy’s nose. Old, purple and yellow bruises lined the woman’s arm like a bad tattoo. The familiar scent of whiskey wafted from Dawson as Jake drew close, hurling him back to the house in Warsaw when he would lay on the floor after a beat down from his father, his mother shielding him from further blows.

Author Bio:

James L Weaver is the Kansas City author of the Jake Caldwell series featuring IAN Thriller of the Year finalist Poor Boy Road, and the IAN Thriller of the Year finalist and New Apple Official Selection sequel Ares Road from Lakewater Press. He makes his home in Olathe, Kansas with his wife of 20 years and two children. His previous publishing credits include a six part story called “The Nuts” and his 5-star rated debut novel Jack & Diane which is available on Amazon.com. Author note: a handful of the raters are actually not related to him.

His limited free time is spent writing into the wee hours of the morning, playing parental taxi cab to his kids’ sporting endeavors, and binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Current favorite TV shows: The Walking Dead, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Game of Thrones, The Resident and Shameless.

Current favorite music artists: Alter Bridge, Rush, Sara Bareilles, Halestorm

Last best book read: Twisted Prey by John Sandford

Favorite comedians: John Caparulo, Kathleen Madigan, Mike Birbiglia, John Mulaney

You can follow him on Twitter @jlweaverbooks.

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Cover Reveal: The Witch’s Tower by Tamara Grantham

The Witch’s Tower
Tamara Grantham
(Twisted Ever After, #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 11th 2019
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Gothel is a witch. Punished for the actions of her mother, her choice is simple: either she stands guard over Princess Rapunzel—or she dies. But just because a choice is easy doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. Protecting Rapunzel means watching as the princess lays trapped in a tower, bedridden by hair that is so long and heavy it’s slowly driving her insane. Gothel’s life has become one of imprisonment and solitude as well—until a prince and his handsome squire appear at the tower.

Only one object can cut Rapunzel’s hair and end the curse: a pair of magical shears. But the shears are guarded by the most terrifying witches in the land, who also happen to be Gothel’s aunts. As Gothel and the prince’s squire, Raj Talmund, work to form a plan, she finds herself more and more drawn to the mysterious young man from the Outerlands. Unfortunately, his destiny is far more dangerous than she wants to admit: to save a princess, he must kill the witch who’s been forced to guard her.

THE WITCH’S TOWER is the first in an inspired new series of fairy-tale retellings from award-winning fantasy author Tamara Grantham.

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Author Bio:

Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series and the Shine novellas. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance of 2016, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon with over 200 five-star reviews.
Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Lamar University. She has been a featured speaker at multiple writing conferences, and she has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.
Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks–which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds–and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made. You can find her online at www.TamaraGrantham.com.

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Author Spotlight: Brenda Drake

 Name:  Brenda Drake

Author of: Analise Rising (coming January, 2019)

The Library Jumpers series: Thief of Lies; Guardian of Secrets; Assassin of Truths

The Fated series: Touching Fate; Cursing Fate; Seeking Fate (coming June, 2018)

Thunderstruck

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

I was eight, I believe, and it was a story about a rabbit looking for his lost carrots. It was horribly illustrated, but my grandmother loved it.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

I always loved writing, but it wasn’t until I was home with the kids that I decided to give publishing my stories a try.

 

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

My journey to publishing started out without having anyone to talk to about writing. It wasn’t until I found Twitter and blogging did I find writer friends. I guess it’s been my many writer friends and my current editors who have read and critique my work that have helped and advised me on my publishing journey.

 

Do you exclusively write books with a  paranormal/fantasy twist  or have you written in other genres?

Currently, all my books have a paranormal/fantasy twist. I love being in the fantastical. I may try other genres one day, but for now I’m happy what I write. I think that’s the most important thing. You have to enjoy what you write because other parts of the publishing journey is difficult but writing should be enjoyable.

 

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

I’m so off balance when I’m writing a book. It’s all I concentrate on. I’ll write from morning to night, only stopping when I have to, when something needs to be taking care of. I keep trying to follow a schedule, but it never works. I’m just not good at being hemmed into a schedule. I write when the inspiration hits me.

 

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

It usually takes me four to six weeks to write a first draft and about a month for revisions. Then if I have time, I have a critique partner read it and revise it again.

 

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

Each book is different and has varying amounts of preparation and research. With fantasy, much of it is made up from your imagination and things come to me as I write. Mostly, I have to research real places that are in my books, maybe weapons and techniques for fighting and things like that. I do a plot graph of each book and it takes me several hours to only a few hours to plot out a story.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

I have to have some sort of noise going while I write. Usually, it’s music. Sometimes it’s a movie that inspires me that I’ve seen so many times that I know what’s going on in it because I don’t pay attention to it while I’m writing. It’s weird, but I think it has to do with feeling lonely in the quiet.

 

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

I haven’t done a pilgrimage. My dream is to do a tour of libraries around the world. That would be the best bucket list ever!

 

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

I can! With the Library Jumpers series it was in a book store and I came across a coffee table book on libraries. I thought how great it would be if I could jump into the photographs of each library to see them for real. For my Fated series, it was during a tarot card reading in New Orleans.

 

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

I prefer reading young adult fantasy. It’s my favorite, but I read in all categories and genres. For me, it’s about the story. If it interests me, I’ll read it.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

Yes, I do. No one has pointed them out yet, so I may have hidden them too well. Ha!

 

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

They’re somewhat inspired by people I know in real life. I borrow traits and quirks from the people around me.

 

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

I can’t think of any one book. There are so many books I feel that don’t get enough marketing behind them that should.

 

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

I’ve thought and thought over this one and I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure or not, but I loved Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

 

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Yes. And sometimes it’s sad. Ha!

 

As a writer, what animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

I’d say an owl. They’re beautiful, quiet, and they look as if they’re always contemplating their next move.

 

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

Spelling and pronunciation. They’re my Kryptonite. After an accident, I had difficulties hearing sounds while growing up and it continues to this day. I’ll have my friends repeat a word several times so that I can get it. And I never mind being corrected because it helps me with it. I’m a little self-conscious speaking in front of large groups. I struggle, but I still do it.

 

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

Learn your craft. Read widely. The key to success is perseverance. If you give up, you’ll never accomplish your dreams.

 

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?

Relax and enjoy the ride. Don’t spend too much on swag. And remember all authors get bad reviews.

 

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

I founded Pitch Wars and #PitMad as a way of paying it forward to others. I also mentor in Pitch Wars sometimes. Giving back to the community is rewarding and will make you life long friends.

 

Interested in learning more about Brenda or her books?

 

Thunderstruck

Stevie Moon is famous…at least to the subscribers on her comic review vlog. At school, she’s as plain as the gray painted walls in the cafeteria. So when Blake, the hot new guy at school, shows an interest in her, she knows trouble when she sees it. Been there. And never doing it again.

As the son of the god Thor, Blake Foster’s been given an important mission—to recover the Norse god Heimdall’s sacred and powerful horn before someone uses it to herald in the destruction of the entire universe. But while Blake is great in a fight, the battlefield that is a high school’s social scene is another matter.

Blake knows his only choice is to team up with the adorable Stevie, but she’s not willing to give him even the time of day. He’ll need to woo the girl and find the horn if he hopes to win this war. Who better to tackle Stevie’s defenses than the demi-god of thunder?

Get Thunderstruck from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

The Library Jumpers Series:

 Thief of Lies

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels-magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books-rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.

Get Thief of Lies from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

Guardian of Secrets

Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

Get Guardian of Secrets from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

Assassin of Truths

The gateways linking the great libraries of the world don’t require a library card, but they do harbor incredible dangers.

And it’s not your normal bump-in-the- night kind. The threats Gia Kearns faces are the kind with sharp teeth and knifelike claws. The kind that include an evil wizard hell-bent on taking her down.

Gia can end his devious plan, but only if she recovers seven keys hidden throughout the world’s most beautiful libraries. And then figures out exactly what to do with them.

The last thing she needs is a distraction in the form of falling in love. But when an impossible evil is unleashed, love might be the only thing left to help Gia save the world.

Get Assassin of Truths from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

The Fated Series:

Touching Fate

One touch is all it takes…

Aster Layne believes in physics, not psychics. A tarot card reading on the Ocean City Boardwalk should have been a ridiculous, just-for-fun thing. It wasn’t. Aster discovers she has a very unscientific gift-with a simple touch of the cards, she can change a person’s fate.

Reese Van Buren is cursed. Like the kind of old-school, centuries-old curse that runs in royal families. Every firstborn son is doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday-and Reese’s is coming up fast. Bummer. He tries to distract himself from his inevitable death…only to find the one person who can save him.

Aster doesn’t know that the hot Dutch guy she’s just met needs her help-or that he’s about to die.
But worst of all…she doesn’t know that her new gift comes with dark, dark consequences that can harm everyone she loves.

Get Touching Fate from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

Cursing Fate

There’s something strange about the Layne sisters, and Wade Diaz wants nothing to do with them. Especially the one who ripped his heart out and set it on fire before tossing it in the garbage several months ago. Iris. He can’t even think her name without unconsciously rubbing the spot in his chest where she left a gaping hole. But now her sisters are claiming some evil spirit is after his soul, and Iris is the only one who can save him. Well, at least his heart would stop hurting, right? Didn’t sound so bad.

Iris Layne has always been the sweet sister. She’s kind to everyone, including her best friend Wade… Until she makes a horrible mistake and breaks his heart. All she wants is to go back to before ‘the dumping’. Of course, Wade would rather see her in hell first. But then Iris touches her sister’s tarot cards and unleashes an evil curse intent on playing a deadly game where no one Iris loves is safe, especially Wade.

How do you convince someone they need your help when you’re the one who hurt them most?

Get Cursing Fate from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

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Author Spotlight: Sam Boush

Name: Sam Boush

Author of: All Systems Down (Lakewater Press)

From: Portland, OR

 

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

The first “book” I ever wrote (as far as I can remember) was also the one that made me want to be a writer. Winnie-the-Pooh fanfic. Me, maybe five years old, making my mom transcribe my words onto six-or-seven sheets of paper. Then I drew horribly on it all and bawled my eyes out when the sheets came apart.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

That fanfic. That was definitely it.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

Well, dozens of people. I actually think about this topic a lot because there are so many people who have helped me, and sometimes I feel like one of those concert-goers who launch themselves into a crowd. Body surfing, they call it. Except I’m surfing on the outstretched hands of all the people who have helped me.

If you’re looking for names, Tracy Daugherty from my college days at Oregon State University stands out pretty marvelously. He was the advisor for my honor’s college thesis which was a long-ass novel that must have been pretty painful to read. If you listen to the literary agents I submitted it to, you’d come away with that idea, anyway.

I was twenty-one when he pored over this never-to-be-published historical fiction monstrosity. Read the whole thing and marked it up at least a couple times. No one paid him anything to help me out. And this was on top of running the English department, teaching a full course load, raising his kids, trying to pound out his own writing. Man, when I look back at what he did I feel both grateful and, if I’m being honest, kinda terrible.

Do you exclusively write cyber thrillers or have you written in other genres?

Well… I exclusively write cyber thrillers in that All Systems Down and the next book in the series (working on it now, Lakewater Press, I SWEAR!) are both cyber thrillers. But I’m sure I’ll write more widely in the future. My guess is I’ll be sticking to thrillers, though. It’s a fun genre to write!

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

I’ve got a pretty good situation since I sold my business and am currently focused on just a few things. My kids are a top priority, and I’m kinda Mr. Dad right now, cooking, cleaning, running the kids around and writing in there. If I run into trouble it’s probably from creative juices squeezed out, not really from time.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

Are you sure this isn’t just a ploy from my publisher to find out how I’m doing on book 2? Well, I guess I’ll come clean. It takes me forever. FOREVER. I’m such a slow writer and researcher. Sometimes I go down a rabbit hole and spend an evening learning the intricacies of how a building collapses, watching videos on YouTube and reading engineering papers. I’m not even a wonk, but criminy, I can definitely be a dork.

So, first draft? A year. I dunno. Wayyyy to long. If you’re reading this and thinking that’s normal, it’s not. I don’t know why I’m so slow. And revisions? Gawd, I dunno there either. My publisher had multiple editors looking at my last book, cutting tens of thousands (TENS OF THOUSANDS!) of words, making the thing bleed, you know the drill. Took forever.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

No. I can’t. It’s a lot.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

I drink three cups of coffee. Then I write. I’m like a Hemmingway without the alcoholism or talent.

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

I’ve got a buddy (I’m looking at you, Lee Corum) who implied he could get me on a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. I implied that I would kill anyone he needed me to kill to get onboard that baby. Still waiting for his hitlist.

 Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

A Shine that Defies the Dark

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

See above

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Sure. Not too often, though.

As a writer, what animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

A bat. I stay inside all day. Being a writer isn’t glamorous.

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

No, there are dozens of things. But most of all, probably focus. Sometimes I find things to fix around the house when I should be writing.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

Write every day. I don’t do this, but it’s good advice.

Where can people find more about you?

 

All Systems Down 

24 hours.
That’s all it takes.
A new kind of war has begun.

Pak Han-Yong’s day is here. An elite hacker with Unit 101 of the North Korean military, he’s labored for years to launch Project Sonnimne: a series of deadly viruses set to cripple Imperialist infrastructure.

And with one tap of his keyboard, the rewards are immediate.

Brendan Chogan isn’t a hero. He’s an out-of-work parking enforcement officer and one-time collegiate boxer trying to support his wife and children. But now there’s a foreign enemy on the shore, a blackout that extends across America, and an unseen menace targeting him.

Brendan will do whatever it takes to keep his family safe.

In the wake of the cyber attacks, electrical grids fail, satellites crash to earth, and the destinies of nine strangers collide.

Strangers whose survival depends upon each other’s skills and courage.

For fans of Tom Clancy, ALL SYSTEMS DOWN is a riveting cyber war thriller which presents a threat so credible you’ll be questioning reality.

 

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