Friday, May 18, 2018

Review of Alondra's Experiments, by Loren Rhoads.



Alondra’s Experiments: http://amzn.to/2Bv7Cor


Alondra is a young witch who travels the world fighting monsters.  Of course she meets men along the way.  In this collection, she hooks up with a vampire, combines absinthe and alchemy in Prague, and finds the limits of what she will do for love in the final story, which is called Valentine.



My review:
This is the first collection in the Alondra Stories series. Alondra is a young witch living in modern times. Each story in this series is a chapter in her life.  They are told with rich description, emotion and magic.
First is Shattered Rose, which gives a dream like view of a San Francisco night. Alondra is a young woman in love. Her boyfriend is a 300-year-old vampire. Alondra loves Jordan, but she wonders if their love will last centuries.  This story is lovely and romantic with a dash of spice, and blood. I love it.
Next is Catalyst, which finds Alondra a bit older, isolated and in mourning for her mentor, who raised her. Victor is not dead yet, is determined to find a cure for his mortality. She is in Oslo, preforming Alchemy. One vicious winter night, she leaves her work in search of other people. She meets a fellow practitioner who claims to know how to help her attain her goal. Alondra's desperation to stave off the inevitable, and her drive to do something, even sacrifice herself to save her parent is heartbreaking. It's something that almost all of us face. Also, the magic is beautifully written. 
Last is Valentine. Alondra is still on a quest to save her mentor. She has been driven to a dark decision: to save a life, she must take a life. She tracks an immortal whose heart, she believes, will cure Victor. This story takes place in Oslo. Alondra seduces the immortal, Simon, but it doesn't go as planned. Again, I loved the beautiful description here, and the loneliness shared by the characters.

I'll be honest, this is just a fraction of what's good in these stories. And the best part is, there are more. One and Two are available on Amazon right now, and I think there are more planned. Because they follow a single main character they are less like traditional short stories and more like serial chapters of a book, much like Charles DeLint's Newford stories. This is a good thing for readers, because it means there are more Alondra adventures in store.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Your Cruel Fingers Close My Eyes.

Have I mentioned that I'm working on a prequel to Black Light? It's true. It's for anyone who ever wondered where Albrecht Christian came from.

In Black Light we meet him as a man who appears to be in his forties, haunted by his past. He chooses Trace to fill the void he feels. 

When I began Black Light I was Trace's age. Albrecht Christian was the oldest person I could imagine. I thought he was the villain of the book.
Albrecht politely, but firmly, declined.  In fact, he showed me that there was no villain. It was the combination of Albrecht and Trace that precipitates the events of Black Light. Yes, Albrecht is a a monster, but a reluctant one. 
In the frenetic world of rock and roll he is the one flash of elegance. It's as though he strayed away from an old black and white movie. And more than any other character in Black Light, he chose his own fate He twisted the scene, right under my pen. 

It was that moment, I think, that I fell in love with him. 

So, "Your Cruel Fingers Will Close My Eyes" began from my fascination with him. He tells Mica  his story, briefly in the Black Light. He says, "I was raised to be a Prince, but I'm the monster in this story."

Now I'm giving him the fairy tale he deserves. Where the monster can also be a prince.
Albrecht, being Albrecht,  he hasn't made this simple. I've sent much longer than I ever expected with this story, but I think we're nearing the end now. I hope to have it out and into your hands by early June. 

If you're curious, and you haven't read Black Light, there's a link to the left that leads you to Amazon. I also have signed copies for anyone who needs one, which I'm happy to send out. 




Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Grief

My Dad will have been gone four years this July. It was a long and hard death for him. He'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's nearly 20 years before. He outlived my Mom by five years, and struggled to the very end in a body that literally disintegrated around him. My sister and her son took care of him and I helped when I could. But in the end we could only wait until he gave up.

I don't remember everything that happened then, but this is what I do remember:
Reading saved my life. My oldest best friend, Loren Rhoads was finishing up her space opera trilogy, In The Wake of the Templars, which she had sold to Night Shade Books. The fact that my friend had made a sale to a major publisher was literally the best thing that happened in.... it seemed like years.
She was on the tightest deadline I could imagine--it was months, where I take years to finish anything. Loren was doing it.

In the midst of all of that, she started sending me the book in progress, chapter by chapter. Now I couldn't tell you if it was one a week or a day, but it seemed as though, I woke up every day to something new, something exciting. Something that wasn't me at work, carrying my phone around all day waiting for the CALL.

My last memory of my Dad was that last day, sitting by his bed, trying to get him to wake up and take some water. It's also of Raena and her adventures. No More Heroes was so much more than a distractaction. It was a story that I could hang on to, in spite of everything. As I read Loren's story, I even had hope that there would be a time I could write my own again. I don't think I ever thanked her properly for that. 




Saturday, March 10, 2018

When Knowing Comes, brand new today!


~~~Brand New Release~~~


When Knowing Comes (Secrets of Windy Springs Book 2)
Valarie Savage Kinney

Release Date: March 10, 2018
Twisted magic pervades the enchanted forest at Windy Springs Renaissance Festival. Strange physical symptoms plague Keisha as her second season of vending at Windy Springs begins.
Violence and destruction bring fear to the festival as long-harbored secrets threaten to emerge. When stunning truths are unveiled, Keisha struggles to come to grips with a new reality. Will her relationship with Rogan withstand the coming changes or will the darkness he reveals about his past destroy the promise of their future?

When Knowing Comes is the second book in the Secrets of Windy Springs series. Grab your copy today and find out what mysteries await within the magical forest at Windy Springs.






About The Author:

Valarie Kinney is a writer, fiber artist and Renaissance Festival junkie with a wicked
caffeine addiction. She resides in Michigan with her husband, four children, and two
insane little dogs. She is the author of Heckled, Slither, Just Hold On, and the
Secrets of Windy Springs series, as well as short stories in various anthologies.
She can be followed on Twitter @kinneychaos.

Social Media Links:
Twitter - @kinneychaos






Wednesday, February 28, 2018

New Contemporary Fantasy from Loren Rhoads!


Check out this new collection from Loren Rhoads. A few weeks ago, I got to ask her questions about her stories. Read the interview below!
Alondra DeCourval travels from San Francisco to Prague to Olso, encountering magical creatures and searching for the limits she will go to for love.



 So, how long have you been writing your Alondra stories. I've been a fan forever.

Loren Rhoads: I wrote the very first story in high school. Thank god it's still unpublished. The first story that was published appeared in Not One of Us in 2008. That story -- about a fox spirit in Tokyo -- made the long list for the British Fantasy Award that year.

I remember that! It's a beautiful story. Alondra is such a great character, and you've been carrying her with you for a long time. Where did she come from?

Loren Rhoads: To be honest, I wanted to write a story about a red-haired witch. I had the hubris to think I could spin the trope and add something new to it. Actually, she's one of my favorite characters to write for.

The magic in her stories is so great too. I always learn something that I didn't know about magic.

Loren Rhoads: Wow, that is the nicest thing anyone's said to me all day!

I’m glad. It's true. What are your favorite monsters? What are Alondra's?

Loren Rhoads: Alondra has a thing for older men, so she's not sensible when it comes to the tragic backstory. She keeps getting tangled up with vampires and other immortals.

I mean, I like tragic. Also it keeps your commitment down.

Loren Rhoads: This is true.

I also like that the stories take place all over the world. You're very good at setting the scene. Where do these three stories take place?

Loren Rhoads:  The three in this book are set in Golden Gate Park, Prague -- including a visit to Franz Kafka's grave, and Olso. Olso is the one I haven't been to, so it took a lot of research

Which I know you love. I can't wait to read them. Do you see a more collections in Alondra's future?

Loren Rhoads: Thank you so much for asking that. I will have another collection of stories out sometime in April. It will be called Alondra’s Adventures.

Aha! I'm so glad to hear this. Something to look forward to.  I'm so envious of everyone who gets to read these stories for the first time!


The Alondra stories have appeared in Best New Horror #27, Strange California, Sins of the Sirens, Fright Mare: Women Write Horror, The Haunted Mansion Project: Year One, The Ghostbreakers: New Horrors and more.

Loren Rhoads is the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. She blogs about graveyards as travel destinations at CemeteryTravel.com.
Loren is also the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, a space opera trilogy set after a galactic war has wiped out much of humanity.
She is the co-author (with Brian Thomas) of the novel Lost Angels about a succubus who sets her sights on an angel and ends up possessed by a mortal girl's soul. 
Loren likes long walks in the moonlight and old graveyards. She remembers when men walked on the moon.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cover Reveal Day! When Knowing Comes, By Valarie Savage Kinney

Today is a very special day. It's COVER REVEAL DAY for Valarie Savage Kinney's newest book, When Knowing comes. This is the second in Valarie's Secrets  of Windy Springs series. The first, In the Presence of Knowing is a lovely book, full of  darkness, magic, and love. My three favorite things. I can't wait for number two! The preorder link is right below. and the good thing about waiting for it is if you In the Presence of Knowing yet, there's still time. 
For now, please enjoy this beautiful cover. And hit that preorder.

Release date: March 10th

Twisted magic pervades the enchanted forest at Windy Springs Renaissance Festival. Strange physical symptoms plague Keisha as her second season of vending at Windy Springs begins.
Violence and destruction bring fear to the festival as long-harbored secrets threaten to emerge. When stunning truths are unveiled, Keisha struggles to come to grips with a new reality. Will her relationship with Rogan withstand the coming changes or will the darkness he reveals about his past destroy the promise of their future?
When Knowing Comes is the second book in the Secrets of Windy Springs series. Grab your copy today and find out what mysteries await within the magical forest at Windy Springs.

Here are all the link to lead you to Valarie's online presence:


Monday, April 24, 2017

In which J. Scott Coatsworth asks me about notebooks. Poor soul.

In the dark days of March, J. Scott Coatsworth was nice enough to give me an author spotlight interview on his blog. These questions were the most fun I'd been asked to answer, the perfect remedie for the not quite spring yet/still of that month.
 The interview is up here:Author Spotlight , on his blog. Which you should totally check out. I used to think that Ian McShane was the hardest working man in show business, but I've changed my mind. J. Scott has a lot of things going on. Not the least of which is his new novel, Skythane, which is a great sci fi read (seriously).