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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Review: Snapdragon by Lea Doué

Snapdragon: A Firethorn Chronicles Short Story

by Lea Doué 

“We all have thorns, but most of us carry them inside where no one can see how they hurt us.”

Scarred and isolated, and bound to her beautiful twin sister through a horrible curse, Ryll passes her days in their country manor, resigned to her lonely existence. When she receives an unexpected gift from a village boy, her prospects for the future look bright for the first time in her life. Her happy daydreams soon lead to desperation, however, after she loses the precious item down a well. A tiny dragon offers to fish it up for her, but his help comes with a price.

Inspired by The Frog Prince, Snapdragon is a stand-alone short story set in the world of The Firethorn Chronicles, a series drawn from The Twelve Dancing Princesses and other fairytales. 

My Review

A short but sweet tale that makes call backs to The Princess and the Frog without imitating it too closely. A relationship forms between Ryll and her new dragon friend, leading to her to make positive changes in her life and maybe even find love. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Julie C. Gilbert

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.
The sky shimmers. The clouds part, revealing a strange portal through another realm. Through this mystical doorway emerges our next author: Julie C. Gilbert!


Author Bio:
Julie C. Gilbert writes, teaches chemistry, listens to audiobooks, plays with Legos (for business purposes, mostly), and single-handedly keeps her dentist in business.
The Interview

Which of the following potions would you like to possess: a Love Potion, a Sleeping Potion, an Invisibility Potion, or Coffee?
Definitely coffee. Decaf, of course. Fully caffeinated coffee gives me a headache. I don’t have trouble sleeping and the other two seem like they’d be apt to bring about bothersome nuisances of one sort or another.
If you had to communicate with an alien presence in a non-traditional way (like, for instance, interpretive dance) what would be your method of choice?
Those cute little flag signals that are used to communicate ship to ship.
Can you simply walk into Mordor?
Only once. Dragon cabbie is recommended.
If you had to board yourself up in a store to wait out the apocalypse, what store would you choose?
A Southern Walmart. They’d have everything you need to survive: food, cheap clothes, large cooking pots, lighters, and guns. Northern Walmarts would probably have most of that, sans guns. I’m guessing the apocalypse will have zombies, so guns and other weaponry would be handy to keeping one’s brains intact. If it’s a zombieless apocalypse, then there are probably still people to fend off.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Depends on how good of a woodchucker this woodchuck is … my guess, enough as it takes to knock out the silly person asking him about how much wood he intends to chuck.
If you favorite historical era had an ice cream flavor made in its honor, what would it taste like?
Mint Chocolate Renaissance.
The Flying Dutchman is offering you three wishes. How do you maximize your wish potential?
Well, you could wish for every third wish to grant three more wishes, then you get two freebies and a repeat.
In your opinion, which is the best space ship?
Serenity.
If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Which author would you most fear to be a character for?
Any. Authors are a scary lot when it comes to characters. Brandon Sanderson, probably. I mean, you’d have a lovely, well-developed world to hang out in, but there’d probably be an epic war going on and people trying to kill you.

Connect with the Author

Links:

For a limited time, one can get 3 more books for free. (Complete the signup for one list then email me at devyaschildren @gmail.com and I can get you the links to the other books.)
Heartfelt Cases 2: The Kiverson Case – Sign up for Christian/Mystery newsletter through website.
Ashlynn’s Dreams – Sign up for Speculative Fiction newsletter through website.
Awakening – Signup for Speculative Fiction newsletter through Instafreebie.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: Storm Warden by Janeen Ippolito


Storm Warden: A Gods and Monsters Quest


Sometimes your destiny is worse than your curse.

Maiwa is god-cursed.

Struck with magic by a careless god, a Storm Warden, she lives as an untouchable in her small seaside village. After the death of her parents, she leaves for adventure and a carefree life without the prejudice of others. 

Until another god steps in, pledging loyalty and claiming they are long-lost loves from a past she doesn’t remember. Tyrius Stormsong is handsome, audacious, and far too perceptive for her liking. He embraces her scars and dares to insist she isn’t cursed, but is instead a formidable mediator between the gods, mortals, and monsters. Trusting him is instinctive, which is why Maiwa would rather not, even though her heart says otherwise. But then death unicorns start haunting her steps and a Storm Warden threatens trouble; suddenly, Tyrius’s words don't seem so far-fetched.

As powerful forces circle Maiwa, desiring the rare magic she bears, one thing is clear: having a curse would be a lot easier.

And the god she can’t resist might be her only hope.

A mythology/fantasy novella where the gods are real, the unicorns are deadly, and forbidden love comes with a side of snark.

The Review

I enjoyed this quick mythological romance. It has a lot of banter and snark and enough chemistry between the leads to keep it interesting. Also ... death unicorns. 

I'm curious to see where the series goes next. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Elise Edmonds

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.
Today's author flies in on a magic carpet. Do you think she can show us a whole new world? Let's see!
Elise Edmonds

Author Bio 
Elise Edmonds is a new writer from the South-West UK. Reading and writing have always been her doorways into another world—a way to escape and spend time walking with wizards, flying with fairies and dealing with dragons. By day she is a finance professional, and in her spare time she pursues writing as a creative outlet, to put the magic back into everyday life. In addition to reading, Elise enjoys watching movies, playing the piano, and going to Zumba classes. Her greatest loves are God, her husband, her family and friends, and her two beautiful cats.


The Interview
  • Congratulations! You are now president of this blog post. What's your first executive order?
Everyone who reads this post will get a free kitten. Two kittens if you share it on Twitter.
  • Sum up your life in five words and two punctuation marks.
Cat-loving accountant from England.
  • Favorite flavor (of what? EVERYTHING!)?
Pizza.
  • If you were the captain of a space ship, what would its mission be? Exploration? Colonization? Partying?
To boldly go where no man has gone before. Wait… that’s been done, hasn’t it? But I love a mission with a split infinitive and an adverb.
  • If you had the honor of naming something really big (a country, a spaceship, a planet) what would you want it to be and what would you name it?
I’d have an island paradise in the middle of the ocean. It would have white sand, warm sun, and no rain, and I would go there on holiday every year. Honestly, I’m terrible with names. I grew up with a teddy bear and a toy rabbit called Pink-and-White-Teddy and Yellow Rabbit. So I’d probably just call it Paradise Island.
  • What method do you suggest for dealing with dragons?
Tame them with fried knights and chocolate cake. Then make sure the dragon babies see you first when they hatch and imprint on you. Then you have your own mini-dragon army to ride on and breathe fire on all your enemies. First, we would burn up all the tax returns.
  • During an alien invasion, what would be your weapon of choice?
The common cold. I’d sneeze on them, and they’d succumb to the deadly bugs in a matter of days. Yeah, I got that from War of the Worlds. Unoriginal but effective.
  • Are computers friends or foes?
It depends on their mood. The mood of a computer is inversely proportional to how fast you need to complete the work and how important it is. On a very important, tight deadline? Computer is a deadly foe...
  • If you had to build a house without conventional materials, what unconventional materials would you use? (Gingerbread is inadvisable because it attracts snacking children)
I always fancied the chocolate palace that Prince Pondicherry had in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And as I live in England, if I built it in winter, it would probably last till June without melting.
  • If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
What’s your favorite type of magical transport?
I’m obsessed with flying carpets, so that’s my number one choice. I live on the English coast, so I think I'd need a built in umbrella and a windshield, as well as a waterproof coating on my carpet. Most of my travelling is commuting, so I think I'd have a sturdy, speedy model built for one, to allow me to beat the morning traffic.





Connect with the Author!

Amazon author page

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Wattpad



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

MerMay Giveaway!!!


Mermaids, naiads, women of the sea. Benevolent and beautiful or deceptive and vicious, you'll find all kinds in the stories available by Fellowship of Fantasy authors in our MerMay giveaway. Channel your inner mermaid and enter to win a dozen ebooks plus a gorgeous handmade mermaid journal. 

Giveaway runs May 4-18 and is open internationally. (We reserve the right to substitute the prize for a non-US address.)

Good luck!



The book I've chosen to include in this giveaway is Coiled. Technically the water creatures in this series are Naiads, not Merfolk -- they are also technically jerks. Like really jerky Naiads. Watch out for those Naiads! Don't trust them.

But still, even if Naiads are jerks, the journal is awesome! Plus some of these other mermaid tales feature much nicer mermaids!

Click here to pre-order Coiled.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Lauricia Matuska

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.
Today we welcome author Lauricia Matuska. Do you think she's brought us cookies? Let's read on and see ...

Lauricia Matuska


Author Bio:
Lauricia Matuska has taught high school literature and creative writing classes for more than ten years. She first discovered the realm of fantasy by traveling with Lucy through the wardrobe to Narnia. Since then, she has established dual-residency between that world and this one, and she currently serves as an ambassador to contemporary youth and young adults. The Healer’s Rune is the first novel in her Ceryn Roh trilogy.


The Interview

Which of the following potions would you like to possess: a Love Potion, a Sleeping Potion, an Invisibility Potion, or Coffee?

  • I'm a huge control freak, and I can't stand the though of being asleep but not being able to wake up (which is why I don't take sleeping pills to help with my occasional insomnia), so definitely not a sleeping potion. Coffee already runs through my veins, and love isn't love if it's forced, so I'm going to have to say an invisibility potion. I might sneak up on some of my students and torment them about playing around instead of studying during their study hall periods. *huge grin*

If you had to communicate with an alien presence in a non-traditional way (like, for instance, interpretive dance) what would be your method of choice?

  • Cookies. The Victorians had an entire unspoken language based around the colors and types of flowers, so I would base my language around types of cookies. Nothing says "Welcome!" like a batch fresh out of the oven.
Did you bring me anything?
  • I've just given my latest batch of cookies to the aliens, but I did bring these dragon eggs:      .

Vs movies seem to be all the rage. If you had to put one together, what on screen match up would you like to see?


  • The writers of Realm Makers (my favorite writing tribe) vs the zombie apocalypse. We've been training for years... those zombies don't stand a chance!

What film era do you feel best represents your day to day life?


  • The silent film era, with actors like Charlie Chaplain. I'm a high school teacher, so my days are filled with melodrama and over-acting.

If you favorite historical era had an ice cream flavor made in its honor, what would it taste like?


  • My favorite historical era would be the medieval period, and I know for a fact it would taste like salted caramel because the salted caramel frappuccinos at Starbuck's taste just like a Renaissance fair smells.

T
he Flying Dutchman is offering you three wishes. How do you maximize your wish potential?


  • Everyone knows wishing for more wishes is out of the question, so to get the most out of my wishes, I would wish to live in a writer's colony full of fellow Realm Makers, in a conference-style scenario.
  • I would also wish for parrot-sized dragons like the ones in Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall series.
  • My third wish would be to be able to eat all of the sweets and treats I want without any of the undesired side effects. They would taste so good with the a fore-mentioned coffee!

In your opinion, which is the best space ship?

  • The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I am enchanted by the crew support facilities, like the holodeck and Ten Forward
     
If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?

  • 42 (via Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Coiled COVER REVEAL!!!

I'm so excited to release my 

YA Mythological Fantasy 

Coiled!

So are you ready to see the cover ... well...

HERE IT IS!!!


What? You don't like it?

Oh, okay, okay ... that's not really the cover ...

sheesh, you people have no sense of humor ... 

so ...

How about a blurb?

(the cover will be here soon. I promise)



A healing touch. A hideous face. A looming curse.


As the ugly twin to a perfect sister, Princess Laidra lives her life in the shadows—until her parents offer her as bait for a giant serpent.



Her escape attempt leaves her shipwrecked on a secluded island with only one inhabitant: Prince Calen, who lives under a curse. If anyone looks upon him, he turns into a giant serpent. Speaking to him in the darkness, Laidra sees past the monster to Calen’s lonely soul, and she determines to free him from the magic’s hold. 



But if Laidra can’t break the curse in time, Calen will become a mindless creature of scales and fangs forever.



A YA mythology/romance that retells the myth of Eros and Psyche with adventure, magic, and true love.


Sounds great, huh? It really deserves a great cover ... like ...



THIS ONE!!!!

What?
You don't like that either? 
Seriously, you're a tough crowd. 
Especially with that great tagline. 
Geezzzzz ...

Okay, so where was I? 

If you'd like to pre-order a special autographed copy, click THIS link.


Okay ... so now ... a cover?


Gaaaaaaaaaaa! IT'S SO CUTE!!!!

Uh ... still no?
(dang it)
 Okay ... let's try this ... one more time ...
drum roll ... 




THE COVER


Now, that's a nice cover. 

You can find out more (and pre-order) HERE.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Lauren Lynch

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.
We open up a book. There is an explosion of glitter and a burst of butterflies and suddenly our next author has arrived! Lauren Lynch!



Author Bio



Lauren Lynch is a passionate believer, book lover, artist, and indie author. She is also a wife, mom and church communications director (all of which seem to involve being the only female in the crowd, therefore, she deems herself a princess). To learn more about her, visit www.laurenlynch.com


The Interview

Which of the following potions would you like to possess: a Love Potion, a Sleeping Potion, an Invisibility Potion, or Coffee? I honestly believed I had powers of invisibility as a child. Seriously. I've always had "fly on the wall" observation skills and "fly under the radar" powers that could make me a Survivor show finalist. This has served me well as both an artist and a writer. I love to people-watch and most people don't notice me noticing them ;) There are nights, however, when I might trade it for a sleeping potion (for myself). I have NO trouble falling asleep, but can't seem to stay asleep. I'm often up for a few hours between midnight and 3 a.m. But this also serves me well as a writer. While the rest of my household sleeps, the kingdom is ALL MINE. And it's very, very quiet. And writing happens! It's almost magical. Can you simply walk into Mordor? Possibly. Because of the invisibility powers. But you'd have to force me out of the Shire kicking and screaming first. If you had to board yourself up in a store to wait out the apocalypse, what store would you choose? I'd probably load up on foodstuffs at the Cheesecake Factory and then head over to the ThinkGeek Store where survival gear consists of ping pong ball launchers, stormtrooper costumes and canned unicorn meat. I've never been that practical … but then I could go out laughing maniacally. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, if a woodchuck could chuck wood. If your favorite historical era had an ice cream flavor made in its honor, what would it taste like? My head has been stuck in the first century for several years now where they think dormice and peacock tongues and sea urchins are delicacies. Any dessert would have been Honey Nut something or other (take your pick for the Crunch), but we'd have to give it a silly name like Rocky Roman Road or maybe Dormice Tracks. Who wrote the book of love? I wonder, wonder … hmmm … either Jane Austen or zombies? (In my case, it was probably a joint effort.) You have to trade places with one of your characters for a day. Which and why? I'd love to trade places with Elena from book three in the TimeDrifter series, The Tower of Refuge (to release soon!). Elena's got spunk. She lives a pretty carefree, adventurous life, changes hair color with her mood and her animal guardian is a horse who takes her on wild rides but is also always there to help her out of predicaments. You have superpowers. What are they and what do you do with them? I do have superpowers. Thank you for noticing :) One is empathy. I can feel my characters' thoughts, motivations and feelings as they come to life – almost painfully so. They almost always appreciate that I "get" them. Most of them are very close friends now. Even so, they can pester me at the most inopportune times if they feel I've written them improperly … like when I finally fall asleep, or when I'm driving and can't jot down what they're telling me … even in the shower. It's a problematic superpower, but I really couldn't write well without it now, could I? If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it? Random question 968: What inspires your stories? (Mayans and koalas and orphans. Oh, my.) The world is such a fascinating and mysterious place. Ancient history and exotic locations really intrigue me … lost cities, archaic cultures, dead languages. In my opinion learning is one of the most enjoyable parts of life. I also have a tendency to be curious about the unusual, quirky or misunderstood. Whether we want to admit it or not, humans are very spiritual beings, always searching for greater meaning in life. We each develop a distinct worldview based in our unique experiences. I enjoy examining that journey of growth and enlightenment. I love digging into recorded historical events and filling in the blanks in my mind—imagining the unique perceptions of those involved. Weaving in fantasy elements entertains me. It’s like an extra dollop of icing on the cake of reality.




Website: laurenlynch.com
Connect with me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LaurenRLynch
Connect with me on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/readlaurenlynch

Connect with me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LaurenLynchWriting


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spellsmith & Carver: Pre-order and Giveaway



It feels like forever since I put out a new book, but I'm really excited about this one! You can pre-order it now for 99 cents, but it will be released sometime next month (price will go up to $3.99 after release so get your copy reserved now!).

Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians' Rivalry is what I'm calling a magical buddy cop story, not because the characters are cops, but because it is centered around two opposites who start out as rivals who become at first unwilling teammates then an unstoppable magical duo.

And yeah, I'm kind of excited about it!



If you think you'd like a paperback copy, you can enter to win one on Goodreads below.


 
 


    Goodreads Book Giveaway
 

   

        Spellsmith & Carver by H.L. Burke
   

   

     


          Spellsmith & Carver
     
     


          by H.L. Burke
     

     

         
            Giveaway ends May 15, 2017.
         
         
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
         
     
   
   



    Enter Giveaway



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Destyni Shirley

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.
A coach pulled my majestic turkeys pulls into the courtyard! Who is it? Well, it's our next author: Destiny Shirley!

Destyni Shirley


Author Bio:

  Destyni Shirley is a budding entrepreneur and writer, having founded her own publishing business at the age of nineteen. She loves animals of all shapes and sizes. Currently, she is the proud mommy of a dog, a cat, five turkeys, and a little house mouse she rescued from a trap. She is a voracious reader and writer of both epic fantasy and science fiction. Have a book with complicated plots? Growth and development of real characters? She's game. Her favourite written works to date include The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Well At World's End by William Morris.


The Interview

Tree House or Cave? And why?

Cave-house in a tree. Because mud daubers. Seriously, have you seen the insides of their cute little nests? They're like churros you can live in. They look so cosy. And also spiders are crunchy. 


Write me some Vogon Poetry (for those not in the know, Vogon poetry is so awful you’ll want to rip your ears off and eat them. It’s considered a method of torture in many corners of the galaxy. So give us your worst).

Herk! Me sprekenth the lastermost yurdle cond. 
Alacken thou to me a smuggened foip! 
Zelch! Zond! Gastree! An ill ferggerten;
Cometh the ballagard hitherto alon the ziggermoink. 
Though all's for zilch, blithe be the pebble stomps.

...I could go on for another eighteen or twenty hundred verses, but I would not want to subject anyone to that kind of torture for longer than is absolutely necessary.


Did you bring me anything?

*ahem* Why yes, yes I did. It was carefully selected from my Hoard of Interesting-Things-Which-Somehow-Ended-Up-In-My-Pocket. For a long while I was torn between the pink jellybean and the spring, then I thought maybe you would like one of the keys to lost doors, but ultimately I decided on the tiny carousel horse. It is a splendiferous treasure. But if you would prefer either of the prior treasures, do let me know.


Vs movies seem to be all the rage. If you had to put one together, what on screen match up would you like to see?

Sherlock Holmes vs Doctor Who (any Doctor, really). The battle of wits and debonair sarcasm would please me deeply.


What film era do you feel best represents your day to day life?

Silent Films. The ones that are supposed to be super dramatic but the message is lost over the next generation and you actually end up just busting a gut watching them today.


You're the next Disney princess. What fairy tale is your full length movie and how would you use your new ability to control woodland creatures?

You know, The Yellow Dwarf would make a pretty good full length movie if a few brilliant Disney minds would mould it from the random putty it is now into an actual story with a point and a happy ending. I wouldn't be the princess though. I'd be the crazy faerie lady with pet turkeys (link to blog chronicling my turkey misadventures) and emotional mood swings. 


The Flying Dutchman is offering you three wishes. How do you maximize your wish potential?

I'm a very easy creature to please. Just grant me a large plot of land with water, water rights, and a homestead to live in. I can work with that. I'll make the rest of my wishes come true on that.


In your opinion, which is the best space ship?

Ack, I can't remember it's name, or if they even gave it a name. Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind, the last scene where the people are all hiding in the wreckage of this ship before the Great Warrior is released and the Ohmu descend upon them. The one that Kurotowa mentions is said to have navigated the stars? That one. Its crumbling remains stir the core of my imagination. How did it get there? Where did it come from before? Why did it hold such significance to the people, thousands of years later? I seem to recall doing a little bit of research on it and what it was based on, but myeh, it all escapes me now. Anyway, the essence of what intrigued me about that ship inspired quite a history in my own stories.


If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?

I feel as though I have just been given limitless power, and I have no idea what to do with it. Maybe I'll let those aforementioned pet turkeys poke at it. Hum, no, let's see... how about if the question were, "If your book is finished, why have you decided to launch it in monthly installments on a website rather than publish it outright?" My answer would then be, well, a smile and a shrug. And then I would put a little more thought into it and say, While it is and always has been a goal of mine to publish SJORIA "for real" as a solid paperback and as an ebook, I'm an explorer at heart. I always have been. I want to try new things, or even old things in new ways. So I took my little odd duck of a story and I'm putting it together as a web novel for the experience of trying something new and seeing what happens with it. It's been a great experience for me, so far. Since most of my readers at this time are busy-busy college students, I've been releasing each chapter a month apart so that they can keep up with the story without falling behind in their studies. Due to this, I have had to look at each chapter as it stands on its own merit, without the rest of the book to bear it up. As far as the editorial process goes, this new perspective for me has been invaluable.

Right now SJORIA is heavily in the "art" phase. I am... errr ...splashing paint on a canvas and then setting it on fire to see what effects it can make, I guess you could say. I haven't even begun to crack the "business" phase where I would try to sell to someone. I do still plan to publish SJORIA "for real" eventually. Probably some time towards the end of next year. All future installments in the SJORIA series after The Silence Before The Song will also be published "for real". But, for right here and now, I'm enjoying tinkering with my pet project... and setting her on fire from time to time ;)