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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book Review: Willoughby and Friends, Book I: Willoughby and the Terribly Itchy Itch

Available On Amazon

Willoughby and Friends, Book I: Willoughby and the Terribly Itchy Itch



Willoughby has an itch he can't reach. An itch he can't scratch. Not just a little itch, a TERRIBLY ITCHY ITCH. Nothing he does will make it go away. What can a dragon do when he has an itch he can't reach? He calls for help, of course! See how some unlikely friends get together to relieve Willoughby of his terribly itchy itch.
Willoughby is a young, somewhat clumsy, gentle dragon who is learning to live and interact with friends from the the Land of Dern. In this picture book series for ages 4-8, Willoughby learns about friendship, getting along with creatures different from himself, and discovers he can do things he never thought he could.




My Review:
I was inclined to like this because DRAGONS! So I chose it as an extra Easter basket gift for my five-year-old.
I read it to her. She immediately asked for an encore performance, then walked away holding it saying, "I really like this book."
Really nice simple text, gorgeous colorful pictures, and Claire had a hard time picking her favorite fairy because she liked all three.











































A post shared by H.L. Burke (@burkesdragons) on

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! J. Philip Horne

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.
Look! Is it a bird? Is it a pterodactyl? NO! It's our next author! J. Philip Horne!

J. Philip Horne

Author Bio


J. Philip Horne probably shouldn't be alive. Born in Florida, he grew up overseas for the most part, spending much of his childhood in Liberia and Micronesia. During those years, he experienced numerous attempts on his life. The wannabe killers included malaria, spinal meningitis, blood poisoning, a staph infection in his heel bone, a close encounter with a green mamba, and other cold-hearted foes.

From his earliest years, his parents read to him fantastical stories from wonderful worlds. Narnia and Middle Earth featured prominently, and had his youth been a generation later, he would have certainly encountered Hogwarts at a young age. Through his teen years he read stories by many other authors and experienced a host of new worlds.

After dabbling in writing for many years, he finally got serious and wrote his first novel in 2011. He has continued to write ever since. He currently lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife, four children, two dogs, two rabbits, and several literary aspirations.


The Interview

Congratulations! You are now president of this blog post. What's your first executive order?
I give great answers. Just tremendous answers. People love my answers. But we need to get the questions under control. Too many questions. So for every question I answer, two must be retracted!

Sum up your life in five words and two punctuation marks.
Texas called, I answered, home

Fill in the blanks. I am a were____ but I only turn when the ___ is ___.
1) pufferfish   2) tide   3) purple
Honestly? They told me the bite had come from a shark. That first purple tide was super disappointing. The really unfortunate reality for werepufferfish is just this—though they change on the purple tide, they aren't necessarily *in* the purple tide. I could be taking in a movie, and in that initial adrenaline rush, if I inflate, it is terrible to behold indeed.

If you could live inside a theme park ride, which would it be?
If you'd stopped at theme park, I'd have immediately said Sea World. But a ride? I once lived briefly on It's a Small World. As a small child, the boats broke down while we were deep in the heart of a culture inhabited by very happy people. The song echoed in my brain for weeks after that. So not It's a Small World. No, I'm going to have to go with Disney's Peter Pan's Flight. That ride is magic.

On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think your chances are of surviving the zombie invasion?
It really depends on which zombies we're talking about. My standby zombies are the Reavers from Firefly. I'd be hiding behind River Tam and hoping for the best. Maybe a 3.

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?
First, let's acknowledge that Disney has a colossal failure of a movie on their hands if I'm the next princess. That said, I'm the oft-overlooked Princess Daisy. She's not really a princess. More of a Duchess. Of Hazzard. And her woodland creatures look a lot like barnyard animals.The story revolves around Duchess Daisy using her abilities to coach up one of the pigs until it wins a blue ribbon because it is simply RADIANT.

The Flying Dutchman is offering you three wishes. How do you maximize your wish potential?
First wish: to know all the detailed rules governing wish fulfillment by Flying Dutchman. It's not something you really focus on until you're in the moment, and then it's too late. You need to avoid pitfalls. There are always pitfalls. Better two really good wishes than three lousy ones.

In your opinion, which is the best space ship?
Serenity. I've already mentioned Firefly, right? I loved the way the show created such an intimate, real sense of the interior of Serenity. The no-cut walkthroughs were fantastic. It grabbed the best of Star Trek, with Kaylee standing in for Scotty as they duct-taped their way across the solar system, and the Millennium Falcon, with its embodied cowboy / western sensibility at the heart of the show.

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Q: Where should I send the money? A: Here's my Paypal email address. No, not really. Unless...




Connect with the Author




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.