Hope, Harleys and the #Supernatural—by @TomMohan_Author #amreading #books

Who doesn’t love a good tale of the supernatural? Guest blogger and author Tom Mohan talks about:

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Back in the 1995-96 time frame I had a vision of a homeless man standing in the rain staring at a gun in a pawnshop window. I had no idea who this guy was or why he wanted to end his life, but the vision was clear and the idea stuck. I didn’t write much back then, and finished even less. I had thought about writing and knew that someday, when the stars aligned and I had lots of free time, I wanted to write a book. Procrastination and a natural born gift for laziness didn’t help, either.

Fast forward to 2011 when I attended my first writer’s conference—The Ragged Edge. The Ragged Edge was an intimate conference hosted by Ted Dekker and was open to only 100 participants. I left this conference on fire for writing and decided it was time to find out just who this homeless guy with the death wish was.

It turned out the guy’s name was John Burke. Four years ago John’s wife and daughter had disappeared along with some other members of a church youth group and the pastor. Burke had put everything he had into finding his family but they seemed to have vanished from the Earth. This much I knew fairly quickly but there was a lot more to his story that I had to uncover. I have loved reading horror for as long as I can remember and then, while deployed in the U.S. Navy, I discovered epic fantasy. This was in the early 1980s, before fantasy had really taken off. One thing I knew from my love of these genres was that I wanted to make stuff up. I didn’t want to limit myself to the real world but be able to open up any door that came along, the weirder the better. That is one of the reasons I set Eve of Redemption in the year 2032—it is far enough in the future that I can change some current reality without being so far away as to be completely detached from our current world.

Eve Of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Another thing I knew about John Burke was that he needed redemption. His guilt and shame were killing him and he could be no help to anyone until he was able to forgive himself. As authors, I think we often use our characters to work out some of our own issues. There is probably more of me in John Burke than I care to admit. The original character was much more of a mess than the man who shows up in the book. Fortunately I had enough early readers who were not afraid to tell me the guy was quite unlikable in his current state and that I should make him a bit less of a whiny-wretch. I did and I think he is a much better character for it.

When I started writing Eve I knew three things: the beginning, then end, and the scene that ends part one of the book. Everything else grew organically from the writing process, which is, to me, what makes writing so much fun. About 200 pages into the first draft I realized there were still too many things I didn’t know. In order to figure them out I began delving into the life of Sara Burke, John’s missing daughter. Suddenly a whole new story line opened up that not only answered the questions, but also introduced a new world where nothing was as it seemed.

Eve of Redemption contains many of those vital details that keep life interesting, or do when we allow ourselves to step out of real life—strange children, animated corpses, demons, ghosts, Harley Davidsons (missing from my reality, anyway) and a dragon that surprised even me when he showed up.

That’s my writing journey…so far.

About Eve of Redemption

John Burke’s life is filled with despair. Four years after the mysterious disappearance of his wife and daughter, he wants nothing more than to end his own misery—until a confrontation with a peculiar little girl alters his life. Burke’s world collides with supernatural chaos, forcing him to face the reality of his past.

Now he must find his family and destroy the ancestral curse. Teaming up with a former policeman and his blind wife, along with a boisterous motorcycle gang, Burke discovers the one thing he thought he lost forever—hope.

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan is available now in trade softcover or eBook

Read a sample of Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

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Hope, Harleys & the Supernatural—Welcome to Eve of Redemption by @TomMohan_Author #supernatural #amreading #books

Who doesn’t love a good tale of the supernatural? Guest blogger and author Tom Mohan talks about:

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Back in the 1995-96 time frame I had a vision of a homeless man standing in the rain staring at a gun in a pawnshop window. I had no idea who this guy was or why he wanted to end his life, but the vision was clear and the idea stuck. I didn’t write much back then, and finished even less. I had thought about writing and knew that someday, when the stars aligned and I had lots of free time, I wanted to write a book. Procrastination and a natural born gift for laziness didn’t help, either.

Fast forward to 2011 when I attended my first writer’s conference—The Ragged Edge. The Ragged Edge was an intimate conference hosted by Ted Dekker and was open to only 100 participants. I left this conference on fire for writing and decided it was time to find out just who this homeless guy with the death wish was.

It turned out the guy’s name was John Burke. Four years ago John’s wife and daughter had disappeared along with some other members of a church youth group and the pastor. Burke had put everything he had into finding his family but they seemed to have vanished from the Earth. This much I knew fairly quickly but there was a lot more to his story that I had to uncover. I have loved reading horror for as long as I can remember and then, while deployed in the U.S. Navy, I discovered epic fantasy. This was in the early 1980s, before fantasy had really taken off. One thing I knew from my love of these genres was that I wanted to make stuff up. I didn’t want to limit myself to the real world but be able to open up any door that came along, the weirder the better. That is one of the reasons I set Eve of Redemption in the year 2032—it is far enough in the future that I can change some current reality without being so far away as to be completely detached from our current world.

Eve Of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Another thing I knew about John Burke was that he needed redemption. His guilt and shame were killing him and he could be no help to anyone until he was able to forgive himself. As authors, I think we often use our characters to work out some of our own issues. There is probably more of me in John Burke than I care to admit. The original character was much more of a mess than the man who shows up in the book. Fortunately I had enough early readers who were not afraid to tell me the guy was quite unlikable in his current state and that I should make him a bit less of a whiny-wretch. I did and I think he is a much better character for it.

When I started writing Eve I knew three things: the beginning, then end, and the scene that ends part one of the book. Everything else grew organically from the writing process, which is, to me, what makes writing so much fun. About 200 pages into the first draft I realized there were still too many things I didn’t know. In order to figure them out I began delving into the life of Sara Burke, John’s missing daughter. Suddenly a whole new story line opened up that not only answered the questions, but also introduced a new world where nothing was as it seemed.

Eve of Redemption contains many of those vital details that keep life interesting, or do when we allow ourselves to step out of real life—strange children, animated corpses, demons, ghosts, Harley Davidsons (missing from my reality, anyway) and a dragon that surprised even me when he showed up.

That’s my writing journey…so far.

About Eve of Redemption

John Burke’s life is filled with despair. Four years after the mysterious disappearance of his wife and daughter, he wants nothing more than to end his own misery—until a confrontation with a peculiar little girl alters his life. Burke’s world collides with supernatural chaos, forcing him to face the reality of his past.

Now he must find his family and destroy the ancestral curse. Teaming up with a former policeman and his blind wife, along with a boisterous motorcycle gang, Burke discovers the one thing he thought he lost forever—hope.

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan is available now in trade softcover or eBook

Read a sample of Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

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The waiting is the hardest part—our cover design for @EmmieMears #contemporaryfiction #amreading #amlistening

It’s been over a year since we’ve known we would be working with the amazing author Emmie Mears on their newest book A Hall of Keys and No Doors. And it’s been so hard not to share this news as we’ve been dying to share teaming up with Emmie.

During our latest chat about the project, Emmie shared that Amber Benson was narrating the audiobook. (Yes, the Amber from Buffy the Vampire Slayer not to mention awesome author and producer/director.)

A moment of silence while this sinks into our brains…and now we are about to fall over because we are huge Buffy fans. Not sure if huge is a large enough word of expression…but did we mention we are totally huge fans?

(Thanks, Emmie, for making it even harder not to share…  😉

But, as Tom Petty says, “the waiting is the hardest part” and wait we did.

Until today. Because today the waiting is over. We are pleased to present our cover design for A Hall of Keys and No Doors by the always awesome Emmie Mears.

 

A Hall Of Keys And No Doors by Emmie Mears

Available in eBook and trade softcover September 6th, 2016

And our audiocover design. (Psst. It’s being read by Amber Benson!)

A Hall Of Keys And No Doors by Emmie Mears

Available in Audiobook September 6, 2016

About the Book

Ella Keyes thought the death of her twin brother Stuart was the last time she’d let life surprise her. She’s up for tenure at her university, she escaped a doomed engagement, and her fluffy cat knows exactly when to expect her home every day. But when her grandmother passes and leaves Ella her house, Ella discovers that the third floor corridor of keys is more than just a family pun. The seemingly-unremarkable keys don’t unlock any doors in the house, but each time Ella touches one, something in her life shifts. Her life’s carefully-grown roots are ripped out of their soil. Flowers bloom in the middle of a Buffalo winter. A blind date with the wrong person ends up being just maybe the right one. Her grandmother’s batty twin sister turns up every day searching for something even she doesn’t know how to identify, and Ella’s parents refuse to return her calls.

Worse, she finds trinkets from Stuart everywhere she goes, ghosts of a game they used to play. The leash she’s kept on life’s surprises for three years has snapped, and Ella will have to learn that the road to peace starts with letting go of control and that sometimes the best family you have is the family you build.

Snag the Book

Be sure to preorder your copy early and save. Preorder on Amazon.

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Why Does #Steampunk Matter? By Guest Blogger @ARMeyering

Are you a fan of steampunk? And what exactly is it? Guest blogger and award-winning author A.R. Meyering, creator of The Dawn Mirror Chronicles (and who specialized in Victorian/Neo-Victorian Literature in college) delves into the importance of steampunk and why it matters.

Fans of this genre will enjoy her latest release The Hunter’s Bond, as well as the other novels in The Dawn Mirror Chronicles.

Why Does Steampunk Matter?

Steampunk, put lightly, is a fringe genre. Images leap to mind—elaborate DIY gizmos, outlandish costumes, and that eccentrically brilliant handful of people who crave historical fantasy come to life. During my study of Neo-Victorian literature during college, a professor once described steampunk as a genre that boasted “machines that exist far before their time, all which are on the brink of falling apart.” It was a throwaway line during a lecture, but I personally found it to be an illuminating description of the genre.

As of late, steampunk has been creeping further and further into popular culture, flavoring otherwise unrelated games, music, and movies with its eye-catching designs. Where fans may have learned to recognize it for its token gears and antique flair, I regularly see curiosity in those who wonder what the hell steampunk actually is. Just glue some gears on it and call it steampunk, right?

The Hunter's Bond by A.R. Meyering

What Is Steampunk, Anyway?

Steampunk, in its simplest form, is any type of fiction that features two distinct elements: anachronistic technology and a 19th century aesthetic. That’s really just a fancy way of saying highly-advanced inventions in a Victorian (give or take a few decades) setting. At least that’s how it began to be defined after it was coined in the 1980s by science fiction author K.W. Jeter. I believe the beauty of steampunk is how many die-hard aficionados you will meet who will whole-heartedly argue these points. For all intents and purposes, however, steampunk is a flight of science fancy centered on this time period during which steam-powered machines seemed to be the way of the future.

Steampunk has many fascinating offshoots, such as cattlepunk, a similar genre set in the wild west of the United States, dieselpunk, a mid-20th century variant, and clockpunk, where the trademark cogs so often associated with steampunk might actually feel more at home.

The amazing thing about steampunk, to me, is that it feels like it belongs to the fans more than many other genre of fiction. The spirit of steampunk is ingenuity blended with imagination—it’s that surviving spark of nostalgia mixed with the brave urge to burn recklessly into the future. Steampunk is its own type of music; it’s a warm community of retrophiliacs, of people who create magic out of spare parts, of inventors and artists and dreamers. However, for all its whimsy, there is an undercurrent of darkness that runs throughout it—an unflinching social critique that highlights the monstrosity of the 19th century.

History Happens in Patterns

And no matter what we do, we are doomed to repeat it. 19th century British folks, particularly the Pre-Raphaelites, were somewhat fixated on romanticizing medieval Britain through art and literature, despite its undeniable brutality. I suspect that our modern day Neo-Victorian subcultures look back on the 19th century with the same sort of confused, aching belief that we have lost something special to the past, that we can idealize it to be cleaner and rosier than we want to believe it was, and that we can amend its missteps with our modern outlooks on life and society.

Essentially all of us will look back on the economic and social inequity of 19th century Britain and agree that it was shocking, to say the least. Who wouldn’t recoil when faced with the realities of the lower class struggling to survive in the industrial revolution? At the horror of British imperialism? At a world where the atrocities of slavery were commonplace? Who wouldn’t take issue with the fact that aristocrats earned around 1,200 times as much as soldiers? Of the devastating spread of disease and the reality that it took until the year 1875 before the government stepped in to protect the health of the masses—resistance to this reform came largely from the factory owners who would be taxed to pay for it. And this hardly grazes the surface of the abject suffering that the majority of people lived through in the 19th century, all while a handful of well-to-do families built up the facades of grandeur and austerity that popular culture readily associates with this time period. All while these same well-to-do families rationalized their behavior through flimsy, racist pseudo-science and the nearly unchecked ambition to guard their ill-earned wealth.

Starting to Sound Familiar?

For all of its flaws and eccentricities, I believe that Steampunk’s historical context features a great potential for meaningful social critique. Instead of trying to ignore the unfortunate truths of the past, they can be addressed and discussed. Steampunk is a bizarre sort of abstract microcosm of our own society, all wrapped up in a quirky package, and it matters because it is a way we can recognize the glaring flaws of bygone times­—flaws that are still very much a problem in today’s world—without the interference of our contemporary egos.

It matters, also, because it simultaneously fixates around just the sort of hopeful spirit that ushers in the anachronistic, before-its-time brilliance that leads to a better world. I say, let’s keep dreaming about clanking, aether-run airships en route to the stars because it shows us not only where we have been, but where we are going.

About The Hunter’s Bond

A storybook life ended in one bloody night…

Left injured, alone, and penniless, noblewoman Beatrice Langford can only think of exacting revenge on the ones who took everything from her. After getting a job as a barmaid from tavern-owner Miles Creedy, she soon discovers his dark secret. Following Creedy into the underworld of crime and vigilante punishment, she is tempted by an opportunity to learn skills deadly enough to carry out her vengeful plan. Beatrice may need to sacrifice everything in order to succeed, including her humanity.

From award-winning author A.R. Meyering comes this prelude to the final installment of the steampunk fantasy series The Dawn Mirror Chronicles.

The Hunter's Bond by A.R. Meyering

The Hunter’s Bond by A.R. Meyering is available now in trade softcover or eBook

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Chasing Vengeance with Author @DreaDamara

Fans of spy thrillers will enjoy Drea Damara’s latest offering Chasing Vengeance, mission one in the Trinity Missions series. Read on to learn about the author’s experience stationed overseas and her inspiration for this novel.

Chasing Vengeance by Drea Damara

“The Birth of the Trinity Missions” by Drea Damara

I’ve never felt such miserable, suffocating heat and stench as I did in Iraq and Afghanistan while wearing all of my military gear. It left me constantly dreaming and wishing for snow and fresh air. So when I imagined what I would do after the war, I envisioned chasing an enemy through the snow. I couldn’t picture doing anything else at the time—it’s what I thought I was meant to do; what I had to do. The only peculiarity which struck me was dreaming about snow and wishing for a less wretched battlefield.

Chasing Vengeance by Drea Damara

One night my colleagues were standing around discussing what they would do after the war: buy a fancy car, travel, apply for a particular job. One of them chimed in, “I want crickets,” which made all the guys laugh. He wanted to sit in silence on his back porch, in peace, and listen to the sound of crickets at night. I knew then that all I wanted too was crickets—to live in peace, and that was okay. I packed up the dream of hunting a new enemy in the snow, came home to the crickets, and began to write the missions that had kept my mind entertained during all those sleepless nights overseas.

People in a combat zone are like worker bees in a hive. Everyone has their own role to focus on, sometimes blinding them to how everyone’s actions are interwoven into a bigger picture. Intel workers have to keep that bigger picture constant in their minds with every move. The physical dangers are often less taxing than those of infantry soldiers, but the mental pressure of keeping those soldiers alive by solving puzzles is a constant torment.

There seems to be a stereotypical portrayal in literature and film about espionage heroes being tough CIA agents or former Navy SEALs. The intel community encompasses all walks of life: the physically weak and the mild mannered along with the mighty. I wanted to show the true diversity in Chasing Vengeance, to show indigenous people who take great risks fighting against their own countries, that women are involved and highly capable in this field, and to never discredit the elderly who’ve been in the game long enough to know things the young could never possibly understand.

These people aren’t glamorous. The work is not glamorous. It’s frustrating. As an intel collector, you’re usually all alone, left with only your wits and judgment. Someone is always trying to kill people of any nation. People in this field are aware of that. They never receive accolades. Rather, they are haunted by the secrets they’ve seen and can never reveal, jaded by the harsh realities of the darkest forms of mankind.

This combination constructs a band of comrades who are what I have deemed “all alone together.” There’s never just one hero, because no one will ever be a hero. Chasing Vengeance has three main protagonists for this very reason. In writing this, I wanted to create a fresh spin on the espionage/thriller genre while also mirroring reality.

About Chasing Vengeance

Never reveal your secrets…

Trinity, an intelligence organization known only through whispers, specializes in covert action. Heading up this modern-day operation is founder Gerry Strakner and his team of skilled misfits. The key to staying alive lies within their code: never divulge your greatest fears or darkest secrets. But sometimes the past refuses to stay buried…

While his organization is under attack, Gerry must let his favorite operative, Caria, fend for herself against a vicious arms dealer. When he learns that she is caught in the crosshairs, his only hope is he’s taught her enough to stay alive.

Now Gerry must call in an old favor to save Caria. Ivan Skavinsk, a reclusive mercenary, is the one man skilled enough to infiltrate the playing field of assassins. But which side is he truly working for? Does loyalty have an expiration date or will deception burn everyone within its reach?

Chasing Vengeance by Drea Damara

 

Chasing Vengeance by Drea Damara is available now in trade softcover or eBook

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Cover Design: Eve of Redemption by @TomMohan_Author #Supernatural #Suspense

Fan of supernatural suspense? Don’t miss Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan…her time has come.

Preorder the eBook at the special introductory price of $2.99 and save. Click HERE to order.

Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan

Available in eBook and trade softcover June 14th, 2016

About the Book:

John Burke’s life is filled with despair. Four years after the mysterious disappearance of his wife and daughter, he wants nothing more than to end his own misery—until a confrontation with a peculiar little girl alters his life. Burke’s world collides with supernatural chaos, forcing him to face the reality of his past.

Now he must find his family and destroy the ancestral curse. Teaming up with a former policeman and his blind wife, along with a boisterous motorcycle gang, Burke discovers the one thing he thought he lost forever—hope.

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Merlin’s Knot by @MarkAndersenTales #ModernFantasy #Arthurian #MythsAndLegends #amreading #bookdesign

Merlin’s Knot by Mark Andersen is a modern-day fantasy set in Houston, Texas and is the first book in the Merlin’s Thread series. Perfect for fans of Merlin, King Arthur, and the weaving of legends set in modern times. Designing the cover for this novel was very design intensive and will be the subject of a future blog you won’t want to miss.

To purchase in either eBook of trade softcover, click HERE

About Merlin’s Knot:

Where in Texas has King Arthur gone?

Merlin the magician sleeps for fifteen hundred years…until his mystical connection to the mind of legendary King Arthur awakens him. Finally, the time has come to find the lost king and return him to his ancient destiny: saving the Britons in their hour of greatest peril.

The quest leads Merlin to Houston, Texas, where his link to Arthur becomes hopelessly tangled. The snarl centers on Alfred, a laid-off engineer suffering his own existential crisis. After Merlin coerces his help, they follow their only clue to a suburb called The Woodlands.

As they unravel the secrets of Arthur’s present life, returning the king to his own time becomes harder. Now Merlin must find a way to reconcile free will with fate—and repair history’s tapestry.

Read a sample chapter by clicking HERE.

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Cover design for print and eBook

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Our print wrap design for the trade softcover

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Our custom-designed print interior for paperback and eBook

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Our custom-designed print interior for paperback and eBook

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Our matching eBook design because readers deserve to experience the same book design no matter which format they prefer to read

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