Monday, July 16, 2018

Bittersweet by Michele Barrow


Don’t miss the first in the series, Fire and Ice, optioned for a motion picture.

To save the Faery world and her mother’s life, seventeen year old Lorelei sacrificed everything, and the dangerous bargains she made in Nevermore had lasting repercussions. Now safely back in her own world, Lorelei seems the same to her high school friends and her supernatural boyfriend in spite of the dark magic growing within her. Yet love across dimensions is complicated, especially when an invisible veil between the two worlds is sealing, threatening to separate Lorelei and Adrius forever.

Determined to find a solution, Lorelei resorts to exploring her new found powers. But when her friends fall ill, Lorelei can’t help but wonder if she's responsible. 

The nightmares from Nevermore tighten their icy hold when someone arrives determined to destroy Lorelei’s world, starting with those closest to her. Once again she’s forced to choose between her family and friends… and a love that was ill-fated from the start.

Interview with Michelle barrow

What was your inspiration behind Bittersweet?
I have always loved fantasy. And romance. And stories. So naturally, I mashed them all together. When I first started the story, years ago, it began as something I could read to my son when he was about 8 yrs old. We’d been reading a book series together and I had the thought, like many 'humble' authors have had at some time, I could write that. And so I started writing what became Fire & Ice (book one of the Faerie Song Saga). But the story wanted to become so much more than a short middle grade novel, and so I set it aside for a few years. I took an amazing online fiction writing class and fresh new ideas for how to shape it into a full length novel sprang to life, including making the characters older teens. It sort of snowballed from there, because once I gave the characters a new lease on life, they wouldn’t leave me alone until I’d finished writing the entire book. I was thinking it would be a trilogy, but when we sold the film options, my publisher thought a longer series would be a good idea. So then came the second, third and forth, and the fifth is underway. My plan was for six books, Fire and Ice, Bittersweet, Freeze, Melt, Burn, and Darkest Light. But now I’m not sure the characters will let me stop there, as ideas are bubbling for more books in the series. It's a bit of a runaway freight train now, lol.

Who's your favorite character?
I would say Zanthiel, the dark Shadow Fae is definitely my favorite character. I love how he struggles with his more hedonistic dark attributes, while trying (and often failing) to embody more humanity, by being 'good'.

What famous actor would play your main character on a movie or TV series?
This is such a fun question, especially since the series was optioned for film and is currently in development for a major motion picture. I would love to see Zendaya play Lorelei, my main character, since she's also a signer in the series (Faerie Song Saga).

Take a look at Bittersweet here: https://goo.gl/FpsUzD


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Interview with Alina Lesnik (ONCE Band)

Music is a must when I'm writing; both a source of inspiration and a tool to calm my nerves and focus. Today, I have the pleasure of featuring Alina Lesnik, the lead vocalist of ONCE, one of my favorite bands. 

Interview.


*Tell me a bit about yourself
My name is Alina Lesnik and I am a mezzo-soprano singer from Germany. Beside creating YouTube covers, I am working as singer for trailer music and as lead vocalist and lyricist of the band ONCE, so music is my main passion. Moreover I am studying the Master of Education in History and German Linguistics. I always loved history, old languages and poetry a lot and felt attracted to the stories of the past, but at some point I realized that music is the only thing I really can imagine to do for the rest of my life, so I decided to finish the studies, but to concentrate on music ☺ 

*What sparked your passion for music?
I always loved to sing along with different Disney characters and dancing around as a child - still do ;-) - so the seeds were planted in young ages. It was simply this feeling of releasing power you gathered within after being loaded with a special emotion. Singing always was like medicine for me.
When I noticed that my singing also touches people around me, the spark became a flame and I wanted to create moods and atmospheres people need in different situations of life. When I hear a known song, I usually get the images and feelings I had when I listened to it for the first time. For me music works like a diary full of memories and feelings. 

*Do you play an instrument?
I played a little bit acoustic guitar before I started to concentrate on singing, but I don’t play an instrument on a professional level, even though I would love to learn Piano or a folky instrument like the Nyckelharpa.

*What’s your favorite genre?
Next to Metal, I am totally into old school rock music, folk music, soundtracks of movies and games and classical music. I would say those are my favorite genres! 

*Please mention some of the bands/singers that have inspired you.
To start with the metal and rock scene, Anna Murphy is one of my idols. I love her natural performances and the tone and power she creates with her voice beside playing the hurdy gurdy, which always fascinates me! 
Floor Jansen also is an inspiration, because her achievements show what you can reach if you just stay passionated and keep living your dreams. The music business is hard sometimes and I can understand people who are frustrated because they need to put so much energy into their career but never get something back. You always have to give a lot first and spent much time, energy and money into this, but then there are those people you look up to, because they already achieved what you wish most and then the flame is burning even brighter. For example, just listening to Floors  live performance of “Ghost Love Score“ triggers something within, which tells me “Continue! You can reach this too”. 
I am a folky music head and there are some really wonderful musicians I like a lot, just to mention a few would be Wardruna, Loreena McKennit or the german band Faun. They reconnect me with my surroundings and nature when I am to much lost in thoughts. 
And at last there are soundtrack composer and YouTuber who are really inspiring, just like Two Steps From Hell and the YouTuber Karliene. 

*How long ago did you begin to make covers? 
I started to record my covers when I did a christmas CD for my mother in 2013. I picked up some songs she liked a lot and simply recorded them and uploaded “Tale As Old As Time”  from “The Beauty And The Beast“ on Youtube. My friends told me I should try it out, so I did ;-) 


*Do you have a favorite one? 
That‘s a difficult question, because I like all of them, even the old ones! They show a development and each cover reminds me of a special situation in life.  But if I had to choose I would say  “The Last Ride Of The Day“ by Nightwish!




*You have a band called ONCE. How did this project begin? 
It is a long, looong story, but I will try to sum it up! In 2012 I wanted to form a band and already had Marco with me as guitarist. We tried out different band projects, but all failed. One day I read a notification in the local newspaper and went to an audition for a Progressive Metal band. We didn’t really matched but when I told the guys that I was searching for someone who plays keyboard, they suggested Frank who also had an audition before. Fortunately he lived close to us and he brought a friend with, our drummer Alex. So ONCE was formed and through the years we developed a really strong friendship.




*Do you guys write your own lyrics? 
Yes, I write all the lyrics. 

*What’s the name of your latest album, and what inspired the concept? 
The upcoming album is called After Earth and the main idea behind the concept was to create a piece of art, in which everything is connected. 
We want to tell a story and invite the listener to sit down and to imagine the world we created in music, lyrics, artwork and structure. It should be like being a part of a movie, reflecting own thoughts and feelings while wandering through the protagonists story.
The structure is inspired by an Aristotelian drama  and the story is builded around the life of a main character. You can see him on the album cover artwork and he is also the main actor in our music video “The Hour Of Eden’s Fall“. 

*The Hour of Eden’s fall is beautiful. Did you have fun recording the video? Was it hard? 
Filming the video was a really interesting time and one of the most beautiful moments I gathered! We spent nearly 3 days sleepless in a house which seemed to live and breath dust of forgotten tales. 
We had to improvise a lot, but the team was perfect and when we started, everything seemed like working by itself. Thinking back it seemed like being in a kind of trance, where ideas were born and directly manifested into reality. 
Moreover it was autumn already, the lost place was surrounded by the smell of fallen leaves and the sun was shining really bright, even though the air was fresh. I simply loved it! Our families and friends were helping out and our actors William Seidel and Christin Paulzen were simply amazing! 


*Future albums/plans? 
Yeah we have ideas and plans, but nothing which is concrete yet. We will keep you updated ;-)

*Where can we stalk you and ONCE? 
Me on Facebook: https://goo.gl/jRPU6W 
Me on YouTube: https://goo.gl/APtmTE

ONCE on YouTube : https://goo.gl/pkV5Hw 
ONCE on Facebook: https://goo.gl/35uw2d 
ONCE on Twitter: https://goo.gl/PEXx8R 
ONCE on Instagram: https://goo.gl/EQq5gZ 
Website: http://www.once-official.de/


Tweet: #Interview with @AlinaLesnik90
#metal #music #band 
https://selenekallanfantasywriter.blogspot.com/2018/07/interview-with-alina-lesnik-once-band.html

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black


Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

RATING: 4 stars.
GENRE: Fantasy

This is not my kind of book. And by that I don't mean there's something wrong with it, quite the opposite, it's a really good book.
The world Holly Black created is mesmerizing. It feels real and complex.
There was action from beginning to end, and most chapters ended in a cliffhanger, so I was engaged all the time.
The writing style is beautiful, painting a perfect picture of what's happening without affecting the flow. The plot was steadily strong, something was always happening so I couldn't stop reading, hence why I finished it in one day.
The plot twist at the end was perfectly executed, and left me stunned for a while, having to re-read it to believe it.

With that being said, here come the SPOILERS, the reason why I can't love The Cruel Prince. If you have not read it and want to discover everything by yourself, it's time to STOP READING. 

Seriously.

LOTS OF SPOILERS ahead.

Don't say I didn't warn you. 

I don't like Jude, the protagonist of the story. In fact if she had been killed, I wouldn't have cared, not one bit. Why? Because she gave me no reasons to feel connected to her.
She cares for nothing more than herself and what she wants. She wants to be respected by the Fae, she wants to have power, she wants revenge on her evil classmates...
The only good thing she tries to do backfires horribly, and partly thanks to her lack of empathy. 
For all she talks about how the faeries are monstruos to humans, she can be just as bad, if not worse. There were options for her, she could have left the world of the Fae behind, tried to be different; but the truth is that she was born in the wrong body, the wrong kind. She is like one of the Fae, and one of the crueler ones. 
And Taryn, her twin is no different. In fact, I disliked Taryn even more, selfish, capricious, conceited, and plays the victim.
Vivi, Jude's half fae sister is far more likable, and I would've preferred to see more of her. She's a rebel and she hates her Fae father, with a fair reason since he killed her mother and adoptive father. Her intentions are actually good most of the time, her rough exterior a mask to keep herself and those she loves safe. 
I can hardly believe it myself, but I ended up feeling more connected to Cardan, the cruel Prince. Don't get me wrong, I don't like him, but he actually does have a good reason to be broken and rotten. His life has been a constant torture, so he hurts others not to feel like a victim. Makes sense.
So, you might wonder why the 4 stars. For the same reason I can't say the Godfather is a bad movie despite the fact I'd like to see all the Corleone family in an orange suit. Just because something is not my style, doesn't mean I can't recognize it's brilliantly made.
The Cruel Prince is entertaining, full of schemes and twists that don't let you go, and well written. 
So, as a last statement, if you like an intelligent and strong, but cunning and cruel female MC, this book is for you.

Tweet: #TheCruelPrince #BookReviews #YAFantasy 
https://selenekallanfantasywriter.blogspot.com/2018/07/the-cruel-prince-by-holly-black.html

Friday, June 29, 2018

Rebel Mages by Laurie Forest

Wandfasted and Light Mage, the two novellas in the Black Witch Chronicles World will be together in a hardback!



WANDFASTED

Twenty years before The Black Witch, Erthia was rent asunder during the devastating Realm War. When Tessla Harrow is driven from her home by the fighting, she discovers a depth of power she never knew she had…and an irresistible draw toward Vale Gardner, the son of he people's greatest Mage, the Black Witch.


LIGHT MAGE

Before Elloren Gardner came to possess the White Wand of myth, the Wand was drawn to another bearer: Sagellyn Gaffney, the first female Light Mage born in decades. When Sage discovers that the fastmate her parents chose for her is not the charming young man he appears to be, she is forced to abandon everything she once knew and forge a new path for herself…and find a way to protect the Wand from the dark forces hunting for it.


Such a gorgeous cover! I can't wait for the release!
If you have not read Wandfasted yet (believe me, you must!) you can get it the ebook here: https://www.amazon.com/Wandfasted-Black-Chronicles-Laurie-Forest-ebook/dp/B01N00Y9X9

And you can preorder the ebook of Light Mage here: https://www.amazon.com/Light-Mage-Black-Witch-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B077XY3GCF/

Tweet: #RebelMages by @laurieannforest 
#YAFantasy #Magic #dragons #mustread #CoverReveal
https://selenekallanfantasywriter.blogspot.com/2018/06/rebel-mages-by-laurie-forest.html

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Endeavours of the Unsung (Aeldynn Lore) by Melissa A. Joy


From Armaran in the west to Icetaihn in the north and Zaern’Kairnell in the east, 
there are 10 unsung tales to be told. 

A crystalline fortress in the farthest reaches of a treacherous glacier. A demonic fissure in the depths of a formidable gorge. 
Long kept secrets in a forest cloaked in fog. One pint-sized bookworm with a penchant for adventure. Covert operations at a vampire soirĂ©e. 

Many are the tales of Aeldynn. 
Here are the Endeavours of the Unsung 

Review
Beautifully written short stories in the world of Aeldynn.
I can't choose a favourite, each story is unique on its own. Love, loss, mystery, action; I devoured it in no time.
If you are not familiar with Melissa A. Joy's work, then this would be a great start. However, some of the stories link to the plot of Keys of the Origin (The scions of Balance).
Perfect for those who have read Keys of the Origin and are hungrily awaiting the next book in the saga.

Read an excerpt of Endeavours of the Unsung HERE
Tweet: Review of Endeavours of the Unsung by @DefineimagineMJ
#Fantasy #dragons #mustread #indieauthor #lovetoread #highfantasy #shortstories 
https://selenekallanfantasywriter.blogspot.com/2018/06/endeavours-of-unsung-aeldynn-lore-by.html

Friday, June 22, 2018

Hunting Night


Hunting Night 




The pub was crowded. Electro-pop loud enough to make conversation impossible, red and blue lights flickering psychedelically. Couples, and groups of women moving to the beat on the dance floor, careless. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. The scent of fresh sweat and expensive perfume reached his nostrils; his throat closing with the burning pain he could never quench, mouth watering. 
‘So much to choose from,’ he mused. 
He opened his red-rimmed eyes, his lips stretching in a half-smile half-snarl. 
‘Why choosing at all?’ he wondered, making his way through the dance floor, delighting in the sea of potential preys.
Some women looked at him with open interest; he smiled nonchalantly casting an aura of allure around him, no that he needed it. He was 6-foot-1, with pale skin, dark eyes, and brown hair; his features resembling those of an ancient Greek statue. A few men and women moved out of his way with frantic heartbeats. Their unconscious mind warning them of the threat, the bloodlust he hid under his charm. 
‘It’s a good thing most are stupid enough,’ he thought ruefully. 
He sat at the bar watching, choosing; the pain in his gut was not strong enough to make him lose focus, yet. No, he wanted to take his time, make the night count. 
His eyes landed on a pair of impossibly long tanned legs, covered partially by black, knee-high boots. He slowly trailed his eyes up the perfect feminine figure barely hidden by a short, strapless black dress. Something stirred inside him, a faint echo of what used to be his obsession, many years back. He had tried a couple times to give in to lust, but it wasn’t the same anymore, not after knowing what true pleasure was. His eyes scanned her collarbone and swan neck, her blood-red lips. His mouth watered again, he swallowed feeling parched as her light blue eyes locked with his black stare. 
He felt his cheeks lift as she smiled timidly at him; she was perfect, long raven hair falling free to her waist, her skin unmarred and chiseled features. He got up walking towards her; she kept her eyes on him as she danced, lifting her arms above her head, half-hiding behind her hair.
He grasped her waist pulling her towards him, her eyes leveled with him. She was a tall woman, and even taller on 4-inch heeled boots. 
“Hello, gorgeous,” he purred. 
She smiled, biting down her full lip. “Hello.”  
He leaned in pressing her tighter against him; his cold nose trailing a path from her exposed shoulder up to her neck. Her scent was intoxicating, molasses and almond, almost too sweet, but perfect nevertheless. He swallowed hard enjoying the sight of goosebumps on her silk-soft skin.
“Let’s get out of here, baby,” he whispered looking directly into her eyes. She nodded immediately, her face devoid of emotion, hypnotized. He took her hand and pulled them both out of the crowd, heading for the rear exit. 
Cold night air welcomed them; the odor of burned fuel and garbage made him wrinkle his nose. He pulled her closer inhaling deeply. 
‘Much better,’ he thought, taking her to another alley, a more secluded one, without exit.
She panted when he roughly pushed her against the wall; his cold hands wrapping firmly, almost painfully on her hips.
“M-maybe we can find a better place?” she suggested with whisper-like voice. 
He laughed softly trailing his hands up to her waist, pressing her against his body.
“No, I’ve waited long enough,” he growled.
His sight sharpened, making her the central focus; he ignored the pain caused by the descent of his sharp fangs. He smiled showing the doe-eyed girl the truth about what he was, knowing she wouldn’t live to tell his secret. 
Her wide eyes regained focus, full lips pressing on a wry smile.
“Oh well, if you insist,” she purred. 
Her pupils stretched into vertical cat-like slits, the blue color melted into a silver-white hue; the opposite of his crimson feline stare. He let her go stepping back, seething with surprise. 
“Now, now, it looks like you’ve seen a ghost,” she mocked taking a step towards him. Her voice cold, unearthly.
He stepped back automatically feeling cold, raw power ooze from her. His otherwise impassive heart fluttered, his breath coming in slow bursts. Every cell in his body screaming he should run, blocking the desire of breaking her neck. A part of him wondered if the limb-numbing fear was her doing, or his instincts.
Regaining some control he squared his shoulders, looking into the burning eyes of the female; fighting to shut off the alarms ringing in his head. Run, run, run! 
“What do you say if we part ways?” he asked with feigned nonchalance. “You are no longer… appealing.”
She shook her head, a lock of raven hair falling from her shoulder. “I don’t think so.”
He clenched his jaw not to swallow his frustration. His fangs cutting the inside of his mouth.
“What do you want?” he demanded with equal parts of dread and anger.
She took a measured step towards him. “You have killed a woman a night in the last week, leaving their dry corpses to be found.” She shook her head, eyes blazing with anger. “A careless blood-addict, taking innocent lives, risking us all.”
He hissed, recoiling. “I have covered my tracks.”
She snarled, white fangs visible through her lips. “You call decapitation covering your tracks?”
His fear subsided when anger flared. “And who are you to point your finger?”
She clenched her fists taking a step towards him. “Your executioner.”
He threw his fist at her face, almost losing his footing as he swung at thin air. She had moved faster than even his eyes could register.
She smiled wickedly showing him her longer, sharper, white fangs. “Pathetic.”
His anger evaporated, swallowed by instinct. He turned to run at full speed, only to fly backward, his back slamming hard against the musty brick wall. He stayed down for a second, the alarms in his head ringing louder. 
‘No! This can’t be happening! I will kill her!’ he thought desperately.
She allowed him to stand and fight. Every single one of his blows missed his target, she either moved or blocked him effortlessly. Her silver feline eyes dead, not showing anger, pleasure or fear; and he knew it then, his life was truly over. 
He thought about that fateful night ten years before, the last time he had enjoyed sex. He couldn’t believe his luck when the most beautiful woman in the party had taken him to her hotel room. Her almond black eyes and porcelain face were carved in his memory. She had given him pleasure and then caused him pain so intense he begged for a quick death. Instead, she cursed him, making him like her. A monster.
The sickening sound of his sternum breaking brought him back to the present. He fell on the dirty, humid floor, the roar of his heart on his ears. He almost laughed at the irony of feeling more alive than he had in a long decade just when he was about to die. The last thing he saw was the female beauty taking his head in her hands.
She didn’t have to use her full strength to break his neck. Even for a low-class vampire, he was weak; at least compared to her. She straightened looking down at the unconscious blood-addict sprawled on the ground, opening her senses to confirm no-one was near. Her eyes returned to the pale-blue color, fangs retracting causing an unpleasant sensation she had grown accustomed to over the centuries. She slid her fingers inside her right boot, pulling out a sharp, foot-long blade. Her stomach clenched with disgust, not at him, but at the one that had turned him into that. A second class vampire with a penchant for wickedness, no doubt. 
She hated having to destroy his kind, knowing there was no other way to stop them. Low-class blood addicts could not be taught or threatened to stop. She had tried that once, and the subject of her experiment had broken her heart and almost killed her. Only born purebloods like her, and the ones turned by the purebloods -second class vampires- had some semblance of self-control. 
‘Not all of them, clearly,’ she thought angrily. 
Ignoring her clenching stomach she brandished the blade, cutting his head off in a swift motion that barely produced a splatter. She cleaned the blade on his clothing before sheathing it back in her boot.
She picked up her purse and took out a small perfume-like vial, and a lighter. Carefully, she sprayed his remains, taking a few steps back before tossing the lighter. Orange-red flames erupted violently, the scent of rapidly burning flesh made her nauseated; but she had to endure it, had to make sure his nature remained a secret. It was bad enough there was an organized group of humans hunting down her kind. The last thing they needed was for the whole human population to know the truth.
In less than a minute, flesh and muscle had disappeared, the bones breaking due to the alchemical heat. It was a good thing he’d chosen such a secluded place. The flames died out quickly; after less than 5 minutes the remaining bones were churned beyond any recognition, the rest was only ash. She got close enough to make sure the fangs had wasted away erasing all evidence. Satisfied, she moved fast, becoming a blur as she almost flew through the dim alleys back to where her car was parked. 
She slumped against the leather seat taking a deep breath; hating the taste of his burnt flesh behind her tongue. She could remember every face, every blood-addict vampire she had killed. The events of that night were bound to be repeated, sooner or later. 
She straightened, bringing the roaring engine back to life. She knew who had made him, she had felt her corrupted scent on him.
‘That crazy bitch! When will she stop?’ 
The answer was, of course, never. Not unless she made her. And that she would do.
‘After all, what’s immortality good for if I don’t make some enemies?’ she mused, feeling a smile spread across her face. 


Tweet: Read #HuntingNight by @SeleneKWriter
https://selenekallanfantasywriter.blogspot.com/2018/06/hunting-night.html
#shortstory #vampires #mustread #lovetoread #bookworm #readingforpleasure

Friday, June 8, 2018

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Bittersweet by Michele Barrow

Don’t miss the first in the series, Fire and Ice, optioned for a motion picture. To save the Faery world and her mother’s life, sev...