My husband knows that for Valentine’s Day each year, I don’t want jewelry. I don’t want stupidly overpriced flowers that will be dead in a week. I don’t want a dinner out at some crowded restaurant. Nope. I want a trip to the VNSA Book Sale at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.
This event takes place the second weekend of February each year, and it’s GINORMOUS. One of the biggest book sales in the country. Years ago, I fought the crowds and lines to be among the first in the door on Saturday, but I have found that I much prefer Sunday. The selection is picked over, yes, but the crowds are fewer AND most of the books are half off.
If you’re in the Phoenix area, check out the sale website for info. The event itself is free, but you have to pay to park. Also, be sure to bring your own hand cart or a sturdy tote bag. Shopping carts are few and always in use.
Note that I’m not actually affiliated with the sale in any way. I’m just a hardcore reader who loves to share the joy with other hardcore readers. If you go, I wish you all the best in your treasure hunt!
I’m happy to welcome Pat Esden to Bready or Not again. You might recall she visited last year to share a recipe for Popovers as she celebrated the release of her first book, A Hold On Me. Today she shares a quintessential Maine recipe for Blueberry Cake! Her second book, Beyond Your Touch, is a new adult paranormal romance that came out August 30th. We’ll start things off with an interview to learn about her Dark Heart series.
You sent a lovely blueberry recipe. YUM. Can you explain how this ties into your books’ world?
Both A HOLD ON ME (Dark Heart book #1) and BEYOND YOUR TOUCH (Dark Heart book #2) are for the most part set on the Maine seacoast, a prime area for both commercial and wild blueberries. The main character, Annie Freemont, and her family often have blueberry muffins for breakfast. The cake recipe I’m going to share is something they’d have at teatime for sure.
Also Annie’s love interest, Chase, is a blueberry fanatic. He was born in Maine, but was kidnapped as a child and raised in the djinn realm until he escaped in his late teens. During his years of captivity, Chase often went hungry. As a result, having edible berries growing right outside his cottage is not only a tasty treat for him, it’s also emotionally comforting. In reality, he’s a bit of a blueberry glutton.
You do a great job of capturing the new adult voices in A Hold on Me and Beyond Your Touch. Do you have advice for other writers who are working on voice in new adult fiction?
New adult is a category of fiction where the main character and point of view are a person or persons between the age of nineteen and twenty-six. It’s not a novel written through the eyes and sensibilities of someone looking back on that stage of their life. It’s that sensibility that is most vital to remember when you’re writing new adult. The motivations and choices of people in that age range will vary, but they are not the same as a younger teenager who has less life experience in general or an older person who has more experience. It’s important for a writer to put themselves in the mindset of being that age and to look at each choice and reaction the character(s) make to be sure they are appropriate for a new adult.
What has been your greatest challenge in working on your Dark Heart series?
The Dark Heart series consists of three novels. The biggest challenge for me has been swapping between books during the various editing and marketing stages. For example: in the middle of drafting book 3, I received notes from my editor on book 2. I had to put book 3 aside for a month to do edits on book 2. Once book 2 was turned in, I went back to book 3. But I had to swap again and focus on book 1 when it was released. LOL. It’s crazy making!
Thank you as well. I love visiting.
Old Fashion Blueberry Cake
2 eggs separated
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Beat 2 egg whites until stiff, and set aside.
Cream together shortening, vanilla, sugar, and two egg yolks.
Sift flour and baking powder together. Add to cream mixture alternating with milk.
Fold in egg whites and blue berries.
Pour into 9” pan (greased and floured) and sprinkle top lightly with sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
This is a traditional New England dense desert or breakfast cake. Just a touch lighter than pound cake. No frosting needed.
BEYOND YOUR TOUCH (book #2 Dark Heart series) was released August 30th
She wants more than he can promise.
His desires could lead to betrayal.
But without each other, neither can survive the dangers ahead.
Annie Freemont knows this isn’t the right time to get involved with a man like Chase. After years of distrust, she’s finally drawing close to her estranged family, and he’s an employee on their estate in Maine. Though she never intended to stay on the estate for long, her father’s illness and the mysteries surrounding her family made leaving impossible. And now with the newfound hope of rescuing her long-missing mother, Annie’s determined to be involved with the family’s plans one way or another.
If only she could keep her mind off Chase and focus on the impending rescue. But there’s something about the enigmatic Chase that she can’t resist. And she’s not the only woman. Annie fears a seductive stranger who is key to safely freeing her mother is also obsessed with him. As plans transform into action and time for a treacherous journey into a strange world draws near, every move Annie makes will test the one bond she’s trusted with her secrets, her desires—and her heart.
PAT ESDEN is an antique-dealing florist by trade. She’s also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.
Her new adult paranormal novels, A HOLD ON ME (book #1 in the Dark Heart series) and BEYOND YOUR TOUCH (book #2 Dark Heart series) are available from Kensington book. REACH FOR YOU (book #3 Dark Heart series) will be released in 2017.
I’m happy to welcome my Harper Voyager sibling Nancy K. Wallace to my site today. The second book in her Wolves of Llisé series came out last week, and she’s here to talk about the myth behind her novels–and as a librarian, recommend some of her favorite reads!
Book two in the sumptuous Wolves of Llisé trilogy: As the son of Llisé’s ruler, Devin Roché knows its laws only too well. It’s a land where keeping historical records is forbidden. To do so would mean imprisonment – or death.
Only bards may share the histories of their provinces, but Devin’s quest to learn from them ended in tragedy. His best friend Gaspard has been kidnapped, Master Bards are being murdered and whole communities are disappearing. Clearly someone doesn’t want Devin to know the true history of Llisé.
With his guard Marcus and a wolf pack for protection, Devin sets out to discover the truth. But as terrible secrets come to light, Devin realizes that some knowledge can be deadly.
- Grim Tidings is the second book in your Wolves of Llisé series. What is the French legend that inspired you, and how does this work into your books?
The legend is the story of the Beast of Gévaudan, and I’ll add a little background to it. Apparently toward the end of the 18th century, France had a terrible problem with wolves in its rural provinces. The Beast of Gévaudan was an unusually large wolf that terrorized the countryside near the Margeride Mountains. It was shot and killed by Jean Chastel, who becomes a nobleman in my book. As far as the legend goes, there were rumors that Chastel actually trained wolves to obey him. This bit of information sent me off on a tangent and Among Wolves was born.
- Have you traveled to France–and if not, how have you done so vicariously?
I have not traveled to France although I would love to someday. I have a lot of books on France and a Pinterest collection labeled Llisé that gives me ideas for the villages and countryside. Thankfully, these books are fantasies not travel books and I do have some leeway.
- I would love to know more about the important role that bards play in your series.
I was first fascinated by bards after reading Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster Trilogy. I love the idea that stories are something you can conveniently carry with you. You don’t need props or scripts, they are just there in your mind. I’ve often thought that if some cataclysmic event occurred on earth, that I would be able to reinvent the phone or electricity but I could tell stories.
In my trilogy, literacy is not only discouraged but punished. Storytelling provides a way of recording the important events in the lives of the provincial people. The meticulous way that the bards retell the tales ensures that accuracy is preserved. It is when Devin discovers that the official government archives disagree with the provincial chronicles, that trouble begins.
- You’re a librarian. What are some of your favorite books to recommend to children or adults?
Oh dear, you shouldn’t have asked! I have to admit that I adore picture books! One of my favorites is: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont. I sing it at story time and use a huge paint brush to demonstrate. Another great one is Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead. Bear is so excited to pass his story on to his friends but they constantly interrupt him with requests for help to get ready for winter. Bear finally falls asleep, his tale untold, and wakens to discover he has forgotten it! I just bought a wonderful book for the library called Choose Your Days by Paula Wallace. It’s this sweet story about life and its brevity proving that picture books are not just for kids! I look for gentle books for children. Their lives are so frantic and I think they need warm, comforting books that they can disappear into.
I rarely read adult books but two I love are A Brief History of Montmoray by Michelle Cooper and The House at Tyenford by Natasha Solomons. Both stay with you long after the book is closed. I tend to cherish books that touch me emotionally and both of these did.
– What are you working on next?
I have a YA novel that is finished and an adult novel that is almost done. The adult one takes place in Renaissance, Italy. I also have two great ideas for middle grade novels but I have to finish my third book in the Wolves of Llisé series first. I will admit some reluctance to having it be finished! After having lived with these characters for a few years, I don’t want to say goodbye!
Order Among Wolves (book 1) and Grim Tidings (book 2).
Nancy K. Wallace loves chocolate, Christmas, and puppets! She collects fairytales and folklore and houses them in dozens of bookcases (alphabetically according to country). Her pets include four lovely cats, and an Arab mare named Ariel. She lives with her husband in a 140 year old farmhouse named Chevonwyck. Fortunately, she has a family who is tolerant of her obsessions and excellent at proofreading! Nancy is the author of 19 children’s books plus The Wolves of Llisé series for new adults. She has reviewed YA literature for VOYA magazine for 20 years.Read More
I’m generally not a fan of zombies. They squick me. But I love good writing and a good premise, and the Kickstarter for James Aquilone’s”Dead Jack and the Pandemonium Device” completely hooked me. This is the first book in a new fantasy/horror series about a drug-addicted zombie detective and his homunculus frenemy. So yeah, with a zombie lead and all, I couldn’t help but contribute so I could read the whole thing… and I asked James if I could help spread the word about his nifty project, too. It has already funded, so add your support and know that the book is a sure thing!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Dead Jack isn’t the best detective in Pandemonium. He’s just the cheapest. In fact he’ll work for fairy dust. But don’t judge. Jack needs it to curb his hunger for sweet, succulent flesh. In “Dead Jack and the Pandemonium Device,” the first book in the series, things go bad for the brain-licker after he tries to score from his old dealer. Jack and his homunculus sidekick Oswald find themselves on the run from angry leprechauns. But they have bigger krakens to fry, because Pandemonium is in danger of going bye-bye — and our duo is its only hope. Lucifer help them!
Waiting for My Wee-Man
I reached into my jacket for a Lucky Dragon once the shakes began. The undead aren’t known for their dexterity, so I had a bit of fun getting that hellfire stick. I was like a drunken mummy trying to do jazz hands. I burned off half the skin on my left index finger lighting the damn thing. That made four fingers now that were practically nothing but bone. If this kept up, I’d end up a skeleton inside a cheap suit and fedora. I doubt anyone would notice.
Being a member of the great unwashed undead isn’t all bad, though. I was happy for my dulled sense of smell. The alleyway stunk like rotten cabbage and sour apples.
I took a deep drag on my hellfire stick. Smoke poured out from the hole in my right cheek like exhaust out of a busted tailpipe. I sucked that thing halfway down and it barely made a difference. My hand still trembled like a virgin at a satyr convention. I needed fairy dust. Bad.
I had tried everyone in downtown ShadowShade, but no one was holding. Out of desperation I came here to Irish Town, in search of Flanagan, my old dealer.
Without dust, the hunger becomes overpowering, and when I’m hungry no one’s safe. I’d eat my own mother.
I had been waiting in the alley behind Finn McCool’s for at least an hour before the leprechaun finally appeared.
Flanagan isn’t your typical lep. First off, he’s not that short. Maybe five-foot-two. He’s broad shouldered, barrel chested, and someone you don’t want to mess with. He also has the saltiest mouth in all the Five Cities of Pandemonium.
As he entered the alley, he sang, rather jauntily:
“There once was a fellow McSweeney
Who spilled some gin on his weenie…”
A large sack was slung over his shoulder as he swaggered past the reeking dumpsters full of what must have been hundred-year-old cabbage.
“Just to be couth
He added vermouth
Then slipped his girlfriend a martini…”
“Sorry to interrupt that charming little ditty,” I said, and slipped out of the shadows as I blew smoke out of all the holes in my face. All nine. Real bad-ass.
The lep stopped deader than my libido. Like I’d caught him bathing naked in his pot of gold. (Leprechauns don’t really have pots of gold, by the way, but they are known to carry sweet, sweet fairy dust, the closest thing to heaven in this godforsaken world.)
The sack jerked and he gripped it tighter.
“What’s in the sack, Flanny? Someone didn’t pay their vig?”
“None of your fookin business. Now if you wouldn’t be minding. I have better tings to do than converse with a brain-licker.” The lep took a step forward, but I blocked his way.
“Look, meat bag, I don’t want any trouble.”
“No trouble. I’m just looking for dust.”
The lep exploded into laughter. He actually placed his hand over his belly. A real guffaw.
“You fookin dust head. Oh, Jackie boy, I thought maybe you were on a case.”
“Just a gram. The hunger is starting to eat through my innards.”
“You have innards? Figured it’s all just sludge inside ya by now. Like your brain.”
“The last time I went cold turkey, it ended real bad for some fairies. I went wilder on them than a pack of werewolves. I’m still not welcome in The Red Garden.”
“You ain’t threatening now, are ya, ya dead dick?”
My hands shook and my bones rattled as I held them up. It looked like I was trying to conjure a pixie spirit. “I’m desperate.”
“Then you’re out of luck. I don’t deal anymore. I have new opportunities.”
There was a clink, like a glass bell, and the sack flew up. Flanagan nearly lost his grip on it but was able to pull it back down.
“What’s in the sack, Flanny?”
“None of your fookin business, ya filthy corpse.”
He drove his shoulder into my crotch, shoved me into the wall, and took off down the alley.
Maybe the hunger had reached its apex or maybe I didn’t like the way he called me a filthy corpse. I didn’t mind the crotch shot. As for my zombie genital situation, let’s not go there. Either way I was on him like a werewolf on a moonpie.
Read more by supporting the Kickstarter for “Dead Jack”
About the Author
James Aquilone was raised on Saturday morning cartoons, comic books, sitcoms, and Cap’n Crunch. Amid the Cold War, he dreamed of being a jet fighter pilot but decided against the military life after realizing it would require him to wake up early. He had further illusions of being a stand-up comedian, until a traumatic experience on stage forced him to seek a college education. Brief stints as an alternative rock singer/guitarist and child model also proved unsuccessful. Today he battles a severe Tetris addiction while trying to write in the speculative fiction game.
His short fiction has been published in such places as Nature’s Futures, “The Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2013-2014,” “Unidentified Funny Objects 4,” and Weird Tales Magazine. Suffice it to say, things are going much better than his modeling career.
He lives in Staten Island, New York, but don’t hold that against him.
I had a story in FAE, the first book in the Magical Menageries series. The newest book in the sequence doesn’t include my work, but I did get an early copy of it, and I loved it, and I blurbed it!
Sirens are beautiful, dangerous, and musical, whether they come from the sea or the sky. Greek sirens were described as part-bird, part-woman, and Roman sirens more like mermaids, but both had a voice that could captivate and destroy the strongest man. The pages of this book contain the stories of the Sirens of old, but also allow for modern re-imaginings, plucking the sirens out of their natural elements and placing them at a high school football game, or in wartime London, or even into outer space.
Featuring stories by Kelly Sandoval, Amanda Kespohl, L.S. Johnson, Pat Flewwelling, Gabriel F. Cuellar, Randall G. Arnold, Michael Leonberger, V. F. LeSann, Tamsin Showbrook, Simon Kewin, Cat McDonald, Sandra Wickham, K.T. Ivanrest, Adam L. Bealby, Eliza Chan, and Tabitha Lord, these siren songs will both exemplify and defy your expectations.
I’m happy to welcome Auston Habershaw to my site! The second book in his Saga of the Redeemed series came out Tuesday from Harper Voyager Impulse. You can read an excerpt here today, and grab the full book for only $2.99!
More about No Good Deed:
Cursed with a magic ring that forbids skullduggery, Tyvian Reldamar’s life of crime is sadly behind him. Now reduced to fencing moldy relics and wheedling favors from petty nobility, he’s pretty sure his life can’t get any worse.
That is until he hears that his old nemesis, Myreon Alafarr, has been framed for a crime she didn’t commit and turned to stone in a penitentiary garden. Somebody is trying to get his attention, and that somebody is playing a very high-stakes game that will draw Tyvian and his friends back to the city of his birth and right under the noses of the Defenders he’s been dodging for so long. And that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is that the person pulling all the strings is none other than the most powerful sorceress in the West: Lyrelle Reldamar.
Tyvian’s own mother.
Now for sale:
No Good Deed Excerpt
The main courtroom in Keeper’s Court, Saldor’s hall of justice, had five sides, one for each of the arcane energies that made up the world. The accused stood in the center, chained by the wrist to a large squat stone at the center of the floor. Dull, black, and trapezoidal, “the Block” was so old that the courtroom itself was several centuries its junior. It was said that, in the old days, the condemned would have their heads struck off the moment the verdict was read. Those were primitive times, however—blood was no longer spilled in the Saldorian courts. They had other ways of making the condemned regret their actions. Ways that would not stain the woodwork or upset any children present.Read More